Partial Solar Eclipse Observing October 16, 2014Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, Galileoscope, MichiganAstro, Urban Observing.
Tags: eclipse, Solar eclipse, urban observing
There’s only a week left to get ready for the partial solar eclipse! Since it is only a partial, there is never a moment when it will be safe to look at the sun without proper protection.
It’s so important, I’ll say it again:
DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE UNFILTERED SUN.
Got a small ‘scope and want a way to view the sun safely with it? How about building a sun funnel! Get the directions for a sun funnel from the transit of Venus site.
Don’t have the patience for that much effort? Projection screens are simpler, but you’ll have to keep an eye on your telescope to make sure nobody tries to actually look through it. In fact, I don’t recommend using this method at star parties or public events. Most non-astronomers don’t know how to tell the difference between a filtered and unfiltered telescope. Even if you make the tripod short and project onto the ground, that just makes it perfect for a curious four-year-old. However, for yourself or an older audience, this is a very quick and easy way to observe the sun. The simplest version of this this is a white piece of paper on a clipboard, held in front of the eyepiece. If you’re going to use a projection screen, make sure you have real glass eyepieces. Nothing like having eyepiece go up in smoke halfway through the eclipse. If you are using a Galileoscope, you probably shouldn’t use the eyepiece that came with it.
No telescope? You can do the projection with a pair of binoculars to. Again, keep a close eye to make sure no one actually looks through the binoculars.
If you have no optics whatsoever, you can still watch the eclipse. Just poke a hole in a piece of paper and project the image onto the ground or another piece of paper. This isn’t a great way of looking for small features like sunspots, but it will certainly show off of eclipse. For that matter, so will the shadow of a leafy tree.