STAGE 1 - What can be done on a fixed tripod
Or even just camera on the ground
Example shown: 4 megapixel compact camera from 2004 - you really can get results with simple cameras
This particular camera is able to save images in RAW format. Not all compact cameras can do that but it is highly desirable for our purposes.
A more recent compact camera I bought has a limitation which I only discovered after purchase, when I got the full user guide from the Internet. If its exposure time is set to more than 1 second it switches its sensitivity down to only ISO 100, which is no use for astrophotography.