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Paper: Hands-On TAROT: Intercontinental Use of the TAROT for Education and Public Outreach
Volume: 238, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems X
Page: 111
Authors: Boër, M.; Thiébaut, C.; Klotz, A.; Buchholtz, G.; Melchior, A.-L.; Pennypaker, C.; Isaac, M.; Ebisuzaki, T.
Abstract: The TAROT telescope has for primary goal the search for the prompt optical counterpart of cosmic Gamma-Ray Bursts. It is a completely autonomous 25cm telescope installed near Nice (France), able to point to any location of the sky within 1-2 seconds. The control, scheduling, and data processing activities are completely automated. In addition to its un-manned modes, we added recently the possibility to control the telescope remotely, as a request of the ``Hands-On Universe'' (HOU) program of using automatic telescopes for education and public outreach. To this purpose we developed a simple control interface. A webcam was installed to visualize the telescope. Access to the data is possible through a web interface. The images can be processed by the HOU software, a program specially suited for use within the classroom. We used these feature during the open days of the University of California Berkeley and the Astronomy Festival of Fleurance (France). We plan regular use for an astronomy course of the Museum of Tokyo, as well as for French schools. Not only does Hands-On TAROT gives the general public access to professional astronomy, it is also a more general tool to demonstrate the use of a complex automated system, the techniques of data processing and automation. Last but not least, through the use of telescopes located in many countries over the globe, a powerful and genuine cooperation between teachers and children from various countries is promoted, with a clear educational goal.
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