Looking at the sun can be dangerous, but if you want a close-up view with complete safety, then you’ll want to consider investing in some solar binoculars
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Putting eclipse glasses or handheld viewers in front of binoculars, telescopes, or cameras is not safe, so how do you safely get a closer view of the partial phases of a solar eclipse? Only a pair of solar binoculars will offer a safe close-up view of the sun during the partial phases of the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.
What are solar binoculars?
With a built-in permanent solar filter, they remove the risk that a homemade cardboard filter may fall off your binoculars while viewing the partial phases of a solar eclipse, which could lead to eye damage.
Solar binoculars are not only a great way to get a closer look at the partial phases, but through many of them, it is possible to view sunspots. Sunspots are temporary darker spots on the sun’s surface. They occur when massive changes in the sun’s magnetic field cause regions of reduced surface temperature.
How to use solar binoculars
Just to be clear, they are only useful for viewing the sun; they are useless for anything else, including stargazing. But they can be used on any day, not just eclipse day.
To find the sun, face in its rough direction, aligning with a point on the horizon. Keep your feet steady on the ground in line with your direction. Place your solar binoculars in front of your eyes, then slowly raise your head, keeping the binoculars in front of your eyes at all times. Scan up and down, but avoid excessive left-to-right movements. If you can’t find it initially, realign with the ground and try again. Patience is crucial!
We recommend wearing a cap or hat with a peak to protect your eyes from accidental glances at the sun around the eye cups while attempting to locate the sun through solar binoculars. Making use of a chair can help with alignment and arm comfort. And be careful to pass on safety tips if you’re sharing these with others. We also recommend you practice before the upcoming total solar eclipse day.
Here’s a round-up of the best solar binoculars currently available—most designed for the upcoming total solar eclipse—with a comparison chart below:
For those seeking an affordable and portable solution for observing the eclipse, these impress. Their image of the sun isn’t hugely bright, but it’s streets ahead of solar eclipse glasses.
Delivering a decent close-up of sunspots dotting the sun’s surface, these also offer a cool bluish-white tint. However, their weight means users may need a chair for comfort or a tripod to give a steady view.
Eclipse binocular comparison:
|Lunt SUNocular mini