adapted from Society for Popular Astronomy SPA

Background

You can easily and safely observe the Sun by projecting it through a tiny hole onto a white sheet of paper.

Purpose

To construct a simple sun-projecting device from a telescope or binoculars

Materials

Procedure

  1. Point a telescope or binoculars at the Sun. Do not attempt to view the Sun directly through the telescope or the binoculars! In the case of a telescope, make sure that any small finder telescope is capped, and keep the cover on one half of the binoculars. The easiest way to find the Sun is tilt your instrument to get the smallest shadow.
  2. Hold a piece of white card about 15 cm behind the eyepiece to act as a screen on which you can catch the image. You should see a bright circle of light, probably blurred, on the screen. Focus the instrument until the circle is sharp. This is the disc of the Sun itself. If the eclipse is in progress you should see the Moon as a dark bite out of one edge.
  3. Experiment with moving the card farther closer and further away. What effect does the distance from the card have on the image?
  4. Try mounting the binoculars or telescope firmly on a tripod. The advantage of this type of projection is that several people can see the image at once.