On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights- a total solar eclipse. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979. This path where the moon will completely cover the sun will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. If you want to get the very best views of the rare event, you’re in luck. We have an assortment of ideas and gear ideal for viewing the solar eclipse.
Viewing with Binoculars– Thanks to the growing popularity of solar observing among amateur astronomers, some manufacturers now produce binoculars already equipped with safe solar filters, sometimes built right into the optics. These are very nice for viewing the partial phases of a solar eclipse, but the filters need to be removable like the Meade Eclipseview 10×50 Binoculars w/ Removable Eclipse Filters from Beachcamera.com to be useful during totality and for observing celestial objects at night.
Using a Telescope– You can safely use a telescope to view the total eclipse as well only if you have a special solar filter that fits over the end of the scope. For example, the Meade Eclipseview 60 Day or Night Telescope with Removable Filter for Eclipses from Beachcamera.com. This telescope comes complete with everything you need to view the wonders of the sky, day and night.
Photographing the Eclipse- If you plan to do any kind of photography, there are some things you must do to ensure you get quality shots. First, do not use flash of any kind. You will spoil the moment for everyone around you. Use a tripod to avoid any movement at all. You need to use at least a 300mm focal length lens. Try it out on the full moon ahead of time to see what your results will be. Use the correct solar filters before and after totality. Don’t forget to remove them the second totality starts.
These are great ways to view the upcoming eclipse. The most import thing to remember is to never look at the Sun, either directly or through a telescope or binoculars, without a professionally made protective solar filter installed that completely covers the front of the instrument like the ones above, or permanent eye damage could result.