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Is a Telescope a Good Way to Watch an Eclipse?

A telescope from a high vantage point

There’s no denying the magnetic draw when it comes to the beauty and majesty of a solar eclipse. There’s something about these astronomical events that cause even the most jaded and indifferent of people to marvel at this natural wonder.

In the excitement of preparing for an eclipse, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to watch a solar eclipse with a telescope. The temptation to watch each phase through its intense magnification may seem like a thrill, but is it actually safe to watch the partial phases of a solar eclipse through a telescope? The answer? With the right tools, it certainly can be.

Is it Necessary to Use a Telescope?

Before we go any further, we should address whether viewing an eclipse through a telescope is actually the best way to view a solar eclipse. Believe it or not, there’s a great number of experts who actually prefer to view a solar eclipse with the naked eye (with the right eyewear, of course) compared to magnifying it with a telescope or binoculars, however, this can become a complete personal preference.  Watching a solar eclipse with a telescope can sometimes block out your ability to view this big picture. You may miss some of those unique details of a total solar eclipse, like dusk-to-dawn lights turning on because it looks closer to twilight than the middle of the day. However, when using a telescope, you can get up close views of bailey's beads, and the diamond ring, in such detail, it can be truly magical! 

You don’t need to have an expensive, high-powered telescope to have a transcendent experience watching a solar eclipse. However, for some eclipse watchers, viewing the sun’s corona during an eclipse through the lens of a telescope helps heighten their experience. So if you’d still like to watch a solar eclipse through a telescope, how can you do this safely?

How Do You View An Eclipse Through A Telescope?

a total solar eclipse

We must stress the fact that you cannot watch partial phases of a solar eclipse by simply using a pair of binoculars or a telescope. Staring at the sun at any partial phases of an eclipse (except during totality) without a special viewer can cause irrevocable eye damage. This danger is heightened when viewing a solar eclipse with a telescope, as the magnifying power of the telescope can sear the cornea and burn the retina within mere moments.

To safely view an eclipse using a telescope, you’ll need to affix a solar filter to your lens to ensure you receive maximum protection.

How Do You Safely Add A Solar Filter To Your Telescope?

The process of adding a solar filter to your telescope is simple, but you’ll need to ensure that you carefully follow each step to verify that your viewing experience is a safe one.

  • Choose a CE-certified solar filter. You'll need a solar filter that is designed to filter out all harmful solar radiation (100% of ultraviolet and infrared light, as well as 99.999% of intense visible light). This type of lens should be CE-certified and meet the standard for ISO 12312-2:2015. It also needs to meet and the transmission requirements of scale 12-16 of EN 169/1992. All of these requirements are necessary for the safest experience when viewing a solar eclipse with a telescope.
  • Measure your telescope lens.Solar filters come in different sizes and are measured in millimeters. Measure the outside of the telescope around the lens, then purchase a solar filter that is the next size larger than your lens. This will ensure that the solar filter will properly fit over the top of the telescope lens.
  • Affix the lens to the telescope.Once you’ve purchased the correct lens, it’s time to attach it to your telescope. Using tape, securely fasten it to the end of the telescope. Make sure the lens is secure so make sure that light won’t seep through the tape, nor will the lens fall off while you’re watching the solar eclipse with your telescope.


Rainbow Symphony Will Prepare Your Telescope For Safe Eclipse Viewing

At Rainbow Symphony, we’ve been helping our customers safely view solar eclipses for almost 50 years. We carry a wide selection of solar filters for telescopes and binoculars. You’ll even find a free roll of felt tape included in your order to help you make sure you have everything you need to make your telescope safe for eclipse viewing.

Whether you need products for a concert tour, a school classroom, or for personal use, Rainbow Symphony has the optical products you need for a variety of applications. If you still have questions about watching a solar eclipse with a telescope, allow our customer service team to assist you. Contact us today so we can help!