So you’ve snagged a couple tickets to our eclipse events and you’re ready to view the eclipse through our solar telescopes. But you may still be skeptical and worried about your eye safety. We’re encouraging you to read on and put all you fears to rest!
What makes solar telescopes safe, exactly? During the eclipse, our organization will be using two different types of solar filters with our scopes. Built in or on each telescope is a special filter that’s blocking out about 99% of the light that you’d normally see from the sun. For the most common type of solar filter, we will be using a thin, plastic film that keeps its cool in the heat of the sun. Because these films will not heat up significantly, they are used in solar shades as well, and can be safely used throughout the duration of the eclipse. This filter will allow you to see the sun and a yellow-orange disk, and maybe even allow you to see sunspots on the sun’s surface.
The second type of solar filter is known as a Hydrogen-Alpha filter, or H-Alpha for short. This filter is made to detect a certain wavelength, or rather the hydrogen-alpha wavelength, so that it receives only one specific light band through the telescope. The single H-alpha band causes the sun to appear bright red in our telescope, and can enable the viewer to resolve solar flares, granules, prominences and filaments.
So no worries! These filters in our scopes are designed to let in only a tiny amount of light, so that your eyes are not exposed to any UV radiation. So relax, take a peek into the scope and enjoy a safe and unforgettable eclipse!