Solar Observing

Simple Projection

To observe the Sun you will need either a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, two pieces of white card and some kind of photographic tripod (a solid chair will do).

With one of the pieces of card cut one hole in the centre if you have a telescope or two holes if you have binoculars for the eye pieces. Push the card onto the telescope or binoculars and fix with masking tape (sellotape is okay but it is transparent). On binoculars, use the lens cap (or something else opaque) to block one of the objectives so that no sunlight can get in, and use the other.

Mount the binoculars or small telescope onto the tripod and fix them in such a way that they can be pointed into the sky towards the Sun. Get someone to hold the other piece of white card a short distance away from the eye piece (as shown in the photograph). Slacken the mounting so that you can move the telescope with ease.

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TRY TO ALIGN THE BINOCULARS OR TELESCOPE WITH THE SUN BY LOOKING THROUGH THEM.

Move the telescope around until the ‘smallest shadow’ has been achieved onto the white card, you will quickly notice that every time you get the ‘smallest shadow’ the image of the Sun jumps across the card. The trick is to lock the mounting once the image of the Sun can be seen on the white card. There you have it, the right equipment for the right job.

AT NO TIME SHOULD SOLAR VIEWING EQUIPMENT BE LEFT UNSUPERVISED – IF USED IMPROPERLY IT COULD CAUSE PERMANENT BLINDNESS!

You will have to move the set up in order to follow the Sun. However, because you are using a small telescope or binoculars you will find several minutes of comfortable viewing before the apparatus has to be reset.

For those who do not own a tripod, a high backed wooden chair is also ideal, but following the Sun may prove a little tricky.

Of course, if you have a nice sharp image you can ‘peek-a-boo’ the camera over the edge of the masking card to capture the projected image of the Sun.