(Posted 1 November 2012) Want to observe the Wednesday 14 November Solar Eclipse safely but don’t have access to a specialist solar filter for your telescope or binoculars?
I have prepared a pinhole solar eclipse viewer which you can freely download and use to indirectly observe the eclipse. Keep in mind that even in Cairns (where the eclipse will briefly be total) that only part of the Sun will be covered by the Moon making it unsafe to look at. The viewer can be downloaded by clicking on this link: 2012 Solar Eclipse Pinhole Camera (Adobe Acrobat format).
If you haven’t used a pinhole viewer, it allows you to project an image of the Sun so that you can safely view the eclipse. You look at the projected image of the Sun. You do not look through the pinhole at the Sun.
I have included on the viewer information on start, mid and end times for the eclipse for the following citites: Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns, Rockhampton, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin and Townsville.
Australian Curriculum links for school teachers
If you are an Australian teacher in a state or territory using the Australian Curriculum (Science), arranging for your students to indirectly observe this eclipse will provide your students with a real life example of ‘… how the relative positions of the Earth, sun and moon affect phenomena on Earth’ (Year 7 Achievement Strand Australian Curriculum (Science) Earth and space sciences content strand reference ACSSU115).
Want to get a better view of the eclipse?
A better view of the solar eclipse can be obtained through the use of solar viewing glasses, the use of some sort of projection method using either a pair of binoculars or a telescope or looking directly at the Sun using binoculars or a telescope equipped with a solar filter designed for this purpose. Information on safe solar observing techniques can be found here and here. Keep in mind that solar observing techniques require caution and practice. Refer to the safety information outlined in those articles before you undertake any form of solar observing.
My website sponsor Extravision Australia sells specially made solar viewing glasses for $5 plus postage. A link to their website for the glasses is here. The glasses use a specialist safety film produced by the Baader Planetarium in Germany which is certified for the European Standard for personal eye equipment (EN 1836:2005+A1:2007).
They also sell ready to use solar filters plus specialist solar filter material which can be cut to size to fit your telescope or binoculars. Information on all their solar observing products can be found here. They are offering special prices for schools (Information here: SOLAR GLASSES FOR SCHOOLS). For more information and sales contact Extravision Australia on (07) 33939384 or email@example.com.
I will be testing out the iOptron Solar 60TM computerized telescope system sold by Extravision Australia during the eclipse. If all goes well that will include webcasting the eclipse. Check back next week for a review of the telescope.
Finally, if you want to watch a Youtube video on safe solar observing, check out my video of how to observe the Transit of Venus which occurred earlier this year. In it I demonstrate how to undertake a variety of solar viewing techniques.