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I'm designing an amateur astronomy observational plan for GCSE Astronomy students here in the UK. I would like some advise to the suitability of what I have selected as the content.

  • For the beginner level I have decided to see if they can image the various phases of the Moon across a 28 day period.
  • For the intermediate level I would say they could image the Pleiades.
  • For the advanced level I have decided they can create a mosaic of M31 from various narrow field-of-view images. (I would suggest imaging the LMC or SMC but we are based here in the northern hemisphere).

Would this be suitable targets over the course of a year?

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you be more specific about what equipment you have? Cameras, scopes, guiding scopes, mounts, etc. $\endgroup$ Sep 1, 2016 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ @OffGridBob Hi Bob. Could we assume that they have say, something like a standard telescope and instrument+filters etc with a combined sum total of say £1500...? $\endgroup$ Sep 3, 2016 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Where are you? I would have thought M31 might be quite difficult if there is a lot of light pollution. $\endgroup$ Sep 4, 2016 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ 50 degrees N latitude. $\endgroup$ Sep 4, 2016 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ @adrianmcmenamin 50 degrees N latitude, mid-Cornwall, UK. Very dark spot. $\endgroup$ Sep 4, 2016 at 13:32

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The moon, the Pleiades cluster, and constellations can be imaged with a digital camera on a tripod, using the night setting.

To make a mosaic of the Andromeda galaxy, a telescope is required, as well as image processing software and techniques, so this task is significantly more advanced than the first two and probably should not be in the same course.

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