EclipSmart Binoculars Arrived

I bought some Celestron EclipSmart binoculars, which are basically just 10x42mm binoculars with built-in continuum (a.k.a. white-light) filters, so that they can be safely used for viewing the Sun. Obviously, they are targetting people who want to view eclipses, but they work just as well any other time that you want to view the solar disc.

I gave them a quick test this morning and as expected, I was able to see the solar disc, and I saw one sunspot clearly. I compared what I saw with the Intensitygram image from NASA, and the sunspot was in the same location, though the NASA image showed three additional small sunspots.

I wanted to do some leisurely viewing during my lunch break, but unfortunately my view was blocked nearly all the time by a really thick stream of clouds moving across the southern sky. It is interesting though that I can still see the sun if the clouds are not too thick, and I get this fancy effect where all the clouds in my field of view are visible, evidently refracting a lot of light from the Sun.

I found that, for a pleasant viewing experience, I need to have something to lean my arms against to keep the image steady, such as a table. Finding an object that is just the right height, and gives you the needed angle, was a bit tricky.

The binoculars are pretty straightforward with a focus knob and also a diopter adjustment ring. Because the magnification is not very high (10x) it is pretty easy to put the sun in my view, if I go about it intelligently. They are not too heavy and come with a carrying case and a neck strap.

Some things I have to be careful about are (1) making sure to move my eyes away from the sun before I lower the binoculars; and (2) resisting the urge to look directly at the sun before-hand to judge position and cloud-cover. Obviously, the binoculars don't protect my eyes while I'm not wearing them.

Since the magnification is not very high, basically all you can see with these, most of the time, is the disc and the larger sunspots. If you want more detailed imagery, you need a telescope with a filter and 60x or greater magnification. Also, you won't be able to try other filter types, since the filters are built in.[1] But a telescope is not as convenient to carry around and to set up.

I think these are worth the $80 (USD) I paid for my set, but I would also like to try a telescope view with high magnification, if I can get the right size filter for my telescope.


[1] I am curious if one could combine the EclipSmart with other filters stretched over the eyepieces, to see other features.

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