Eclipse 2024Solar Eclipse Binoculars

Eight things you need to know about buying solar eclipse binoculars

Are you looking for the best solar eclipse binoculars?

If you’ve ever witnessed a solar eclipse, you’re likely aware of the inconvenience of solar eclipse glasses. While safeguarding your eyes from hazardous infrared and UV light, as well as intense sunlight, is paramount during sun gazing, these glasses are susceptible to damage and lack magnification.

If you’re after an upgrade on solar eclipse glasses for viewing solar eclipses, then you’ve probably considered buying solar eclipse binoculars. Affordable and seemingly simple to use, they seem like a no-brainer, but there are a few things you need to know before choosing from the small, but incredibly varied range available.

Purchasing a product or service using one of our affiliate links earns us a commission and supports this site at no additional cost to you. See our disclosures here.

Here are eight things you need to know about buying solar eclipse binoculars:

1. Solar eclipse binoculars have built-in solar filters

All models are equipped with built-in solar filters on their objective lenses to admit only safe levels of sunlight. The solar filters used by solar eclipse binoculars meet the ISO 12312-2:2015(E) international safety standard.

2. There are two main brands of solar eclipse binoculars

The solar binocular market is primarily dominated by two major brands: Lunt and Celestron. Lunt makes two products – its SUNocular and SUNocular Mini – while Celestron makes four products (10×25, 10×42, 12×50 and 20×50). They range from compact roof prism binoculars offering just 6x magnification to Porro prism binoculars offering 20x magnification.

3. Solar eclipse binoculars make the sun look either bluish-white or orange

Lunt products use glass filters, which make the sun look yellow-orange while Celestron EclipSmart products use polymer filters that give the sun a bluish-white look. Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference.

4. The specifications for solar eclipse binoculars are simple

Do you know what the specifications of binoculars actually mean? Binoculars are typically described as being, say, 10×25 or 20×50. In the first example, 10 = 10x magnification (so the sun is 10 times bigger than your unaided eye;) and 25 = the size, in millimeters, of the diameter of the objective lenses – the ends of the barrels. This aperture is critical in determining how much light is let in (solar filter aside), with a bigger aperture meaning a brighter image. It’s a trade-off with the magnification.

5. Some solar eclipse binoculars require a tripod

Anything under 10x magnification is fine to hold in the hand. However, get above that and the weight of the solar eclipse binoculars is such that it’s often necessary to mount them on a tripod. Most binoculars of this size – typically either 12x and above – offer a tripod adaptor jack between the barrels. You then need to attach an L-shaped binoculars tripod adaptor (not included) before mounting it on a tripod head.

6. It’s best to wear a hat while using solar eclipse binoculars

Although solar binoculars provide a secure means of observing the sun, an extra safety technique is advisable. When raising solar binoculars to your eyes, there’s a tendency to inadvertently gaze at the sun, particularly if you encounter difficulty locating it through the otherwise dark optics. A useful approach is to wear a wide-brimmed hat, instantly blocking the sun’s rays from reaching your eyes while you locate and adjust the binoculars.

7. You can see sunspots using solar eclipse binoculars

Although watching the progress of the eclipse with a little magnification is the purpose of solar eclipse binoculars, they’re also useful for seeing active regions called sunspots on the surface of the sun. This will be especially useful during the heightened solar activity in the mid-2020s as the sun reaches ‘solar maximum’.

8. You can only see the sun through solar eclipse binoculars

While using solar binoculars around your neck significantly enhances your eclipse viewing experience during the partial phases of a solar eclipse, if you’re fortunate enough to be within the path of totality during a total solar eclipse then you’ll want to set aside your solar eclipse glasses during totality and grab a pair of conventional optical binoculars. With the sun completely obscured by the moon, the solar filter becomes unnecessary and, in fact, hinders your ability to witness the awe-inspiring solar corona. Therefore, while solar binoculars are invaluable accessories during an eclipse, they hold no utility during totality (or for stargazing).

Read solar eclipse binocular reviews here:

  • Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 10x25mm roof solar binoculars review

    Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 10x25mm roof solar binoculars review

  • Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 10x42mm Porro solar binoculars review

    Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 10x42mm Porro solar binoculars review

  • Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 12×50 Porro solar binoculars

    Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 12×50 Porro solar binoculars

  • Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 10x42mm Porro solar binoculars review

    Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 10x42mm Porro solar binoculars review

  • Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 12×50 Porro solar binoculars

    Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 12×50 Porro solar binoculars

  • Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 20×50 Porro solar binoculars review

    Best solar eclipse binoculars: Celestron EclipSmart 20×50 Porro solar binoculars review