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You can buy specialist telescopes for observing the Sun safely that have built-in filters to block out most of the light. Stargazing: How to Observe the Sun Safely. Related Book Stargazing For Dummies.

How to observe the Sun safely through a telescope

Focusing with Binoculars for Stargazing If you use binoculars for your stargazing, you need to get them into focus before you begi Viewing Meteor Showers Normally, only a few meteors per hour are visible — more after midnight than before and Looking directly at the Sun with the naked eye should be absolutely avoided - no matter what. It can and will cause permanent, irreversible eye damage. Looking at the Sun through an optical device, such as telescopes and binoculars, only amplifies this effect - taking just milliseconds to permanently damage your eyes.

Therefore, learning how to look at the Sun with the proper precautions is vitally important so that we can reduce these risk factors and reap the benefits of sungazing. Thankfully, there are ways you can observe the Sun and a solar eclipse that are completely safe, easy, and tons of fun! While viewing the Sun can be fun, looking at it directly can damage your eyes within a matter of seconds.

Step 1: What You'll Need:

Looking through binoculars, a telescope or with your unaided eye allows harmful light to burn the light-sensitive cells causing loss of vision, blind spots and even blindness - making special filters absolutely necessary to observe the Sun. The light emitted from the Sun occupies a large spectrum. Even when you think you have filtered it out its harmful rays, there may still be invisible bands that carry a lot of energy that will harm your eyes. Looking at the disk of the Sun can cause permanent eye damage even when looking at only a thin crescent.

How to Safely Observe the Sun & Solar Eclipses - All-In-One Guide!

In fact, even when just 1 percent of the of the Sun is visible, it is still 10, times brighter than the full moon. Once your retina is destroyed, there is no healing it, no replacing it, and no way to return your vision. Actually, yes! During the event of a total solar eclipse, there is a momentary period when the Sun is completely covered that you can actually view the Sun with the unaided eye. It is in this moment that astronomers wait years to witness with their own eyes.


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It is a highly regarded event. Keep in mind, it is only this few minutes, or even seconds, when it is safe to actually look up at the Sun. But this should be done very, very carefully. During the partial phases of the eclipse, the intensity of the sunlight is still far too strong to safely view the Sun.

This remains true even though the Diamond Ring Effect.

Project the Sun

ONLY at absolute totality should you take advantage of viewing the eclipse directly. We cannot over emphasize this: You need to protect your eyes when observing sun or solar eclipses. As previously mentioned, even when the Sun appears to be safe to look at i. Therefore, even if you think looking at the Sun seems safe and even though you may not feel any physical pain when doing it - looking at the sun without proper equipment should NEVER be done.

Another unsafe viewing method is stacking multiple pairs of sunglasses on top of each other and then looking at the Sun. Although the sunglasses appear to dim out much of the visible light, the high energy wavelengths which cause the most damage are not only still penetrating the glasses, but you actually make your eyes more susceptible to accepting this high energy radiation - causing even more severe damage.

Again, although the light appears dimmed, the glass does not effectively block harmful, invisible light from entering your eyes. There are many different options for viewing the Sun directly during a solar eclipse. Eclipse Glasses One of these can be as simple as purchasing an inexpensive pair of solar sunglasses from companies such as Rainbow Symphony, which can be readily found online.

Remember, before directly viewing the Sun to test your solar shades by putting them on and looking around. If they are in viewing condition, you should only be able to see darkness as solar shades reduce the lighting by 99 percent. If you see any light, your sunglasses have a crack or some other defect, making them unsafe to look at the Sun. These glasses block out enough of the harmful light, both visible and invisible, to allow for direct viewing of the Sun. Since these devices magnify and concentrate the power of the Sun, the glass will actually crack and break after being exposed for just a few minutes.

When using an optical viewing device, only use a specially designed solar filter on the front end where the Sun comes in of the instrument. Although this method is easily retrievable, they do make the Sun appear to be an unnatural green color, somewhat taking away from the seemingly direct view of the Sun. Also, keep in mind that other filters such as smoked glass, polarized filters, stacked sunglasses, etc. You may have used this method to look at the Sun as an experiment when you were growing up. Pinholes perfectly focus any object at any distance without the need of any other optical elements such as lenses etc.

How to Observe the Sun Safely

When projecting the Sun, a bright beam of perfeclty focused sunlight will be projected onto a piece of paper. The Sun is also quite large about 1. Visually, we can see sunspots , faculae , solar flares , prominences , and filaments , on the Sun. From time to time, the Moon passes infront of the Sun, and we enjoy the rare spectacle of a solar eclipse. The atmospheric phenomena are easy and safe to observe, but to enjoy the other views, a challenge first has to be overcome: the intense bright light from the Sun.

There are generally two solutions: block out some of the light with a filter, or project an image of the Sun. The easiest way of observing the Sun is by projecting its image through a pinhole onto a shadowed screen, as shown in the diagram. Smaller pinholes give sharper but fainter images. The further the pinhole from the screen, the larger it can be. The gaps between leaves in trees give excellent large pinhole images — this is in fact the coolest and safest way to watch a solar eclipse.

Keep in mind that the concentrated heat can damage eyepieces, so allow the optics to cool down periodically. And, be very sure no-one looks through the eyepiece at the Sun — this will cause instant blindness. Yes, you can! If you know the distance to the Sun million km , you just need a pinhole, a measuring tape and some grade 8 maths look for similar triangles.