View Full Version : Discussion: See the Sunspots for Yourself

2003-Oct-24, 06:31 PM
SUMMARY: As you might know, there are currently two huge groups of sunspots on the surface of the Sun. They're really easy to see if you have a pair of binoculars or a telescope. Don't look at the sun directly, you can damage your eyes, but there's an easy way you can project an image of the Sun so you can see the spots. All you need is a piece of paper.

You line up the binoculars so that light from the Sun is passing through the eyepiece and onto a piece of paper you're holding. Move the binoculars around a big and you'll eventually see a big bright circle moving around your paper. That's the Sun. Then, focus the eyepiece of the binoculars so that the circle of light has a nice crisp edge. You should be able to see the sunspots right away. NASA has some great instructions on how to do this.

Let me know how it goes!

Fraser Cain
Universe Today

P.S. Hotmail users are going to be experiencing some delays for the next while. There's a problem with the way Hotmail tries to limit SPAM that's clogging up all the mail they're receiving. My newsletters are sometimes taking days before they're getting accepted.

Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

2003-Oct-24, 09:31 PM
One reader mentioned to me that ponting your binoculars or telescope at the Sun for even a few minutes could damage their optics, and heat up various epoxies and glues inside, so don't do this for longer than a few seconds.

2003-Oct-25, 11:40 AM
Hey there,

First off, I'd like to say, Fraser...really nice site!!

Anyhow, I tried out the binocular's "trick" yesterday and it worked perfectly.

I started off by projecting the Sun's image onto a sheet of paper. Even though the image was only about 2 cm. in diameter, I could clearly see the 2 groups of Sunspots...especially the group that was located at about dead center on the solar disk. A little later I tried projecting the image on the side of my house and "made" an image about 1 meter in diameter. Results were amazing! The only problem was holding the binoculars steady. :D