Glenn Chaple's Observing Basics: Solar safety
July 2009: Repeat Galileo's observations of the Sun, but be sure to protect your eyes and eyepieces.
May 26, 2009
When I was growing up, my mother admonished me to follow three guidelines of good health: Eat my vegetables, get plenty of sleep, and never, ever look directly at the Sun with my telescope! OK, I made that up, but we astronomers need to take good care of those essential observing tools — our eyes. And eye safety is especially important when it comes to solar observing.
Galileo sketched sunspots (such as this one from June 29, 1613) by projecting the Sun’s image through a telescope onto a white card. He used these observations to prove the Sun was not a perfect heavenly body. Today, solar projection remains a common way to examine our star.
Photo by Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology
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