How to safely observe the solar eclipse

A pinhole device to safely observe the Sun
A pinhole device to safely observe the Sun
A pinhole device to safely observe the Sun

NOTE: observing the Sun without the right, safe protections can seriously and permanently damage your eyes. Be extremely careful and be sure to follow the instructions from reliable sources, as this site. DURING TOTALITY ONLY YOU CAN OBSERVE WITHOUT FILTERS!

How to observe the solar eclipse.

The observation of the solar eclipse has only one very important, mandatory obligation: safety! The Sun is so bright that even a very quick sight, with naked eyes, can result in damaging them, even permanent. There is no eclipse more precious of your own eyes, so be always very careful when observing the solar eclipse. If you have a doubt about the safety of what you are doing, please stop: you can have other eclipses in the future, but no new eyes.

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT THE PROPER, CERTIFIED TOOLS: NEVER.

The confidence we have with our star can persuade us to look at it without protection, but this MUST be ABSOLUTELY AVOIDED. You can observe with your own eyes ONLY DURING TOTALITY.

That said, enjoying the unique show of the solar eclipse in full safety is very simple, as you must follow some easy procedures and/or use very simple tools.

Here we will share a few suggestions and ways to look at the Sun during the eclipse, with the hope to help you to experience one of the most beautiful natural events and exploit it as much as possible.

  • Pinhole devices. Remembering the dawn of photography, you can easily make a simple darkroom, doing a very small hole with a pin or needle on a large enough piece of cardboard, using it as an optics to project on a rear screen, placed at about one meter from the hole. Making an hole of the right size is important: too large holes would provide blur images, too small ones would give too faint images. The best option would be to create enough shadow all around the hole,  making the hole on a wide cardboard and using its own shadow. Also, some kind of box as below can be useful.
A pinhole device to safely observe the Sun

A pinhole device to safely observe the Sun

For the best results, it is better to experiment in due time with different size holes and different distances of the rear screen.

Of course, this device helps during the partial phase of the solar eclipse. During totality ONLY, you can observe by naked eye and enjoy the stunning solar corona.

NOTE: DURING TOTALITY ONLY YOU CAN OBSERVE WITHOUT FILTERS!

  • Projection with an optical device. A small telescope or binocular can be used to project (without looking through it!) the image of the Sun on a screen, also to observe the solar eclipse. You must be very careful not to cross the light beam coming for the instrument: in particular, you have to be very careful when pointing it to the Sun, as you never have to look directly at our star, never. You can easily point the Sun looking at the shadow of your device on the screen. If you are using a binocular, keep the cap on one of the two lenses, to avoid a double image.
How to use a binocular to safely observe the Sun by projection

How to use a binocular to safely observe the Sun by projection

If you are using a telescope, keep the cap on the finderscope, to avoid burning its crosshair (NEVER use it to point the scope to the Sun: again , use the shadow of the tube, it is easy!); this way, you will also be sure you will never look through it by accident.

Projecting the Sun with a telescope

Projecting the Sun with a telescope

It is worth to note that a telescope used to project the Sun this way concentrates a lot of heat on the lenses of the eyepiece, with the risk to have it damaged, is its lenses are stuck together. Even for this (and to avoid to stress your optics with these thermal shocks (to reduce them you can diaphragm the lens, a concept well known in photography), the following option, which uses a special film, is by far the best solution for a memorable and safe experience.

NOTE: DURING TOTALITY ONLY YOU CAN OBSERVE WITHOUT FILTERS!

  • AstroSolar film. The techniques mentioned above suggested to observe the solar eclipse in an indirect way, projecting the image of the Sun on a screen. This is because the instruments used there were not equipped with the indispensable devices needed to safely observe our star directly. But, of course, a telescope properly equipped with the right tools to directly observe the Sun will offer a much better experience. And to make your scope ready to safely do this is incredibly simple and cheap.

All you need is a special film called Astrosolar, very useful to create custom-made filters to put in front of your telescope for an absolutely safe observing experience, very useful both visually (even without a telescope!) and for imaging purposes. This choice is just perfect to observe the solar eclipse, during partiality.

The Astrosolar film to safely observe the Sun

The Astrosolar film to safely observe the Sun

Using the film above, you can cut it to fit the lenses of your observing device.

The simplest, completely safe way to observe the solar eclipse (and the Sun in general) is with a pair of special solar glasses made with Astrosolar, ready to wear and use. Considering how cheap, how simple to use and, above all, how completely safe they are , these special glasses can be considered a must for solar and eclipse observing. It is worth to underline that these glasses can be very useful to look at the Sun when big sunspots are showing, as in these days, visible with (protected!) naked eyes.

Sun Glasses in Astrosolar

Sun Glasses in Astrosolar

NOTE: DURING TOTALITY ONLY YOU CAN OBSERVE WITHOUT FILTERS: TAKE THEM OFF.

  • Special, solar telescopes. During the partiality, you can follow the ongoing eclipse with special solar telescope, for example H-alpha ones, making the vision mind-blowing. Thjese telescopes will add the visibility of amazing solar features as prominences and the typical structure of the chromosphere.

DURING TOTALITY ONLY YOU HAVE TO OBSERVE WITHOUT H-ALPHA FILTERS

An H-alpha telescope, an amazing instruments for solar observing

An H-alpha telescope, an amazing instruments for solar observing, also for eclipses.

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