Tasks


Part of the GCSE Astronomy qualification is to complete two tasks. Please see the specification from the examining board for information about completing these.

The tasks are copied from the specification below. A link to the subject page on this website is also provided.

Choose 1 task from each column. Choose a maximum of 1 from each row.

Unaided Tasks

Aided Tasks

A1 - Demonstrate the changing appearance of lunar features
Use a series of naked-eye drawings of individual lunar features to demonstrate their changing appearance during the lunar phase cycle
Lunar Features
Phases of the Moon

B1 - Demonstrate the changing appearance of lunar features
Use a series of telescopic drawings or photographs of individual lunar features to demonstrate their changing appearance during the lunar phase cycle
Lunar Features
Phases of the Moon

A2 - Finding the radiant point of a meteor shower
Use naked-eye drawings of the paths of meteors to determine the radiant point of a meteor shower
Meteor Shower

B2 - Finding the radiant point of a meteor shower
Use photographs of the paths of meteors to determine the radiant point of a meteor shower
Meteor Shower

A3 - Assess the accuracy of stellar magnitude estimates
Using reference stars, estimate the magnitude of a range of stars from naked-eye observations and thus assess the accuracy of this technique
Apparent Magnitude

B3 - Assess the accuracy of stellar magnitude measurements
Using reference stars, estimate the magnitude of a range of stars from photographs and thus assess the accuracy of this technique
Apparent Magnitude

A4 - Estimate a celestial property using drawings of a suitable event
Use naked-eye drawings or measurements of a celestial event such as a comet or eclipse to determine a celestial property such as the relative size of the Earth and Moon
Measuring Diameters and Distances

B4 - Measure a celestial property using telescopic drawings or photographs of a suitable event
Use telescopic drawings, measurements or photographs of a celestial event such as a comet, transit, eclipse or occultation to determine a celestial property such as the Earth-Sun distance or the orbital period of a Jovian satellite
Measuring Diameters and Distances

A5 - Estimating levels of light pollution
Use estimates of the magnitude of the faintest stars visible with the naked eye to conduct a survey of the astronomical effects of light pollution in an area
Visibility

B5 - Measuring levels of light pollution
Use estimates of the magnitude of the faintest stars visible on photographs to conduct a survey of the astronomical effects of light pollution in an area
Visibility

A6 - Estimate the solar rotation period using drawings of sunspots
Use a series of drawings from pinhole projections of sunspots to estimate the length of the Sun’s average rotation period
Sun Rotation
Sun Spots

B6 - Determine the solar rotation period using photographs of sunspots
Use a series of photographs or drawings from telescopic projections of sunspots to estimate the length of the Sun’s average rotation period
Sun Rotation
Sun Spots

A7 - Estimating the period of a variable star
Use estimates of stellar magnitude from naked-eye observations to produce a light curve for a variable star and thus estimate its period
Variable Star Light Curve

B7 - Measuring the period of a variable star
Use estimates of stellar magnitude from telescopic observations or photographs to produce a light curve for a variable star and thus estimate its period
Variable Star Light Curve

A8 - Comparing stellar density estimates
Use naked-eye estimates of stellar density taken in and outside the plane of the Milky Way to estimate their relative sizes

B8 - Comparing stellar density measurements
Use telescopic measurements of stellar density taken in and outside the plane of the Milky Way to estimate their relative sizes

A9 - Finding longitude using a shadow stick
Use measurements of shadow length around local noon to estimate the observer’s longitude
Shadow Stick

N/A

A10 - Assess the accuracy of a sundial Use a log of sundial and clock times to assess the accuracy of a sundial
Use a log of sundial and clock times to assess the accuracy of a sundial
Sundial

N/A

N/A

B11 - Demonstrate the range of objects in the Messier Catalogue
Use detailed drawings or photographs of objects from the Messier Catalogue to demonstrate the range of different objects it contains
Messier Catalogue

N/A

B12 - Calculation of the length of the sidereal day
Use long-exposure photographs of the area around the celestial pole to produce an accurate measurement of the length of the Earth’s sidereal period
Day
Star Trails