December 13, 2017

Astro Video of the Week: Making a Binocular Solar Filter

From eclipse glasses to binocular solar filter…

Scrambling to prepare for the Great American Eclipse at the last minute? This final Friday before the August 21st 2017 total solar eclipse, we thought we’d share with you a fun and easy project. Lots of folks across North America just recently got their hands on a pair of solar eclipse glasses for the event. While millions are expected to stand along the path of totality, most folks will only witness varying partial phases of the eclipse, and will need to use eclipse glasses throughout the event.

Now, the image of the Sun offered by such viewers is tiny, similar to a Full Moon. Got an extra pair? Why not modify them to fit over your binoculars:

This really makes the view of the Sun “pop” even at low power, with sunspots dappling the photosphere coming into view. Keep in mind, you’ll need certified ISO 12312-2 solar glasses (check the American Astronomical Society’s web page to assure you’re glasses are safe). Be sure to make the filter fit snugly over the front aperture of the binoculars so that wind or prying hands cannot inadvertently remove them. Also, check them before each and every use for pinholes, scratches and light leaks… we’ve made similar filter masks for larger telescopes over the years.

And us? We’ll be awaiting totality at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in southwestern North Carolina… we plan on simply witnessing our first total solar eclipse, and maybe just running a wide angle camera in the background and maybe take a few quick DSLR snaps during totality.

Good luck, and clear skies. We can’t wait to see what sorts of video captures come out of next week’s eclipse.

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