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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pre-eclipse Solar Observation

I'm not sure if I'll be able to get a look at the eclipse tomorrow -- I'll be at work,  and in any case Washington DC will be far from the zone of totality.  But all the eclipse talk made me want to get my old 4 inch reflector telescope out today for at least one solar observation.  And yes, I know not to look through the 'scope. I projected the image onto a piece of white paper.   Notice the three large sunspots at the center of the solar disk.  Pretty cool.  

BTW, it is easy to aim the scope at the sun without endangering your eyesight.  Don't ever put your eye to an eyepiece (even on the spotting or aiming 'scope) when ole' sol is in the sky!  Instead, just look at the shadow that the scope tube is casting on the ground.  Make it circular and you will be very close to having the main tube aimed at the sun. See below.   

 I like to have the eyepiece aimed down at the ground or well above horizontal to avoid the danger of someone accidentally walking through  the powerful sunbeam coming out of the eyepiece.  You do have to be careful, especially if there are kids around. 

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