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I have practiced astronomy as a hobby for a while now. I have an entry-level telescope (6-inch Newtonian). In addition to observing the night sky, I have been studying physics related to optics, astronomical distance & temperature measurement, gravity, etc.

My plan is to next get a CCD camera, and do some astrophotography. It should keep me busy the next winter. However, I feel I should try to find some kind of project where I could gradually make progress. Otherwise, after learning all the basics, and seeing everything that can be seen with the smallish telescope I have, I might gradually start to lose interest.

What would you recommend as the "next stage"?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by HDE 226868, LDC3, Mitch Goshorn, called2voyage Jun 29 '15 at 16:49

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Once you've learned how to make basic measurements, it's always fun and satisfying to prove to yourself that you can actually put those measurements to good use and deduce other things. See if you can derive accurate values for a planet's basic orbital parameters. If you are particularly ambitious, you could try to verify Kepler's laws, or determine Newton's constant. $\endgroup$ – David H Jun 27 '15 at 14:46
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Astrophotography is always a good step to take after just observation. That way, you can see things through your telescope that you cannot see with the naked eye, and also share your findings.

Another thing you could do is start on a different part of astronomy, maybe getting a hydrogen alpha filter or a solar telescope to observe the Sun, which again could be combined with the astrophotography.

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  • $\begingroup$ I just bought a solar filter after a year and a half of observing and can confirm that this is a great way to expand your possibilities. You always have something to look at/take pictures of. $\endgroup$ – Jack Moody Feb 6 '18 at 1:13

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