Edinburgh Astronomy Teaching Packages

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The teaching packages are no longer produced or sold.

Although no more films are being made, there is a stock of some images - these can be made available free of charge (postage and packing costs only) on request to:

E-mail: ukstu@roe.ac.uk

If you have an other enquiries regarding the teaching packs please also use the e-mail above.

The following information remains available for reference purposes only.

The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh produces various teaching packages using film copies of UK Schmidt photographic plates. The films are 356 x 356 mm and cover an area of sky of 6.5 x 6.5 degrees (about 150 full moons). Each film shows the images of between 100,000 and 1 million stars and galaxies.

Selected films have been made into specialised packages with accompanying booklets suggesting exercises suitable for undergraduates or final year school students. Other films have been made into visual aid packages for use by schools, colleges or amateur groups. The films are negative (as used by astronomers) which means that the stars and galaxies appear black against a light background. The only equipment necessary for most of the exercises is a simple light box and a hand magnifier.

Packages Available from Edinburgh Astronomy

1) Edinburgh Astronomy Teaching Package for Undergraduates

This package consists of ten film copies together with a set of detailed notes suggesting a variety of exercises. Some exercises are elementary and can be completed by first year students in one session while others are suitable for longer or more advanced projects. Some projects are suitable for use in schools.

The suggested exercises are on:

New Exercise: Rotation of the Heavens and Precession

Two (polar trail) films taken 10 years apart at the South Celestial Pole show the rotation of the sky and the change in the pole's position with time.

2) Edinburgh Astronomy Spectroscopic Teaching Package for Undergraduates

A prism can be mounted on the UK Schmidt Telescope so that the light from every star and galaxy is spread out into a spectrum instead of being focused at a point.

This package consists of eight film copies (5 from plates taken with the prism and 3 from matching direct plates) and a set of detailed notes suggesting exercises; some are simple and some longer or more advanced.

The suggested exercises include:

3) Edinburgh Astronomy Educational Packages for Schools

These packages are designed as visual aids. Each package consists of 10 films of different areas of the sky and each film is accompanied by a brief descriptive sheet listing the most interesting objects visible. Each package includes films showing many different types of astronomical objects. There are no specific exercises provided but suggestions for projects to show the structure of the galaxy, hunting for asteroids, galaxy classification etc are included.

Five separate packs are available.

4) Edinburgh Astronomy `A-level Cosmology' Teaching Package

This package consists of nine film copies, twelve photographic prints and a set of detailed exercises. The package is designed as experimental material for students undertaking the Cosmology module as part of the A-level Physics course but should be useful for other school and University courses. This package is based on the two Edinburgh Astronomy Teaching Packages for Undergraduates and includes appropriate exercises (somewhat simplified) from these packages together with some new material.

Follow the chapter links for more information & sample exercises:

5) Edinburgh Astronomy Demonstration Films

Some films are produced for individual sale. These films have been chosen as being particularly attractive examples of different areas of the sky. Each film is accompanied by a sheet describing the films and listing the most interesting objects visible.

Those available (to date) are:

Clusters of Galaxies

This more specialised set of 5 films is also available, containing: