The Great Solar Eclipse 2017 is one of the most anticipated astronomical events in recent memory. For the editors and staff of Astronomy Technology Today, the event has provided the opportunity to focus each month leading up to the event on solar products, services and techniques.
Not wanting to be left out of all of the fun we are putting the finishing touches on the The Definitive Equipment Guide to Viewing the 2017 Solar Eclipse. We are publishing the guide because we found that, although there were a number of websites, blogs and other resources that discuss the solar eclipse itself, many do so in cursory fashion, only brushing upon the range of options people have to use technology to actively participate in the eclipse.
This guide is not meant to be an all-inclusive dissertation. Instead, our purpose is to provide an easy-to-consume introduction to the technological options for viewing and imaging the Great Solar Eclipse. We purposely kept each section short, laying out just the basics for each topic, but also providing links to resources that you can access to learn more.
A theme that is repeated throughout this guide is that it is unsafe to view the sun directly without some form of eye protection. On NASA’s Solar Eclipse 2017 website, that organization cautions, “Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (‘totality’), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality.” The only caveat we will add is, please be careful when viewing totality with the unaided eye, as it will last for a very brief amount of time. Looking too early, or watching for too long, can damage your unprotected eyes. Technology has produced a wealth of affordable tools for viewing the Sun safely, so why not use them?
We expect to have the guide published and on our site within the next week or so. We’ll let you know when it’s up and live!