Total Solar Eclipse 2024 Community of Practice

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Solar Telescope

  • 1.  Solar Telescope

    Posted 01-20-2024 11:32
    Hello everyone!

    My museum is looking for recommendations for purchasing a telescope for the eclipse. Fingers crossed the weather will allow us to use it. I was thinking of going digital so that I could project it to a monitor. I am, however, woefully ignorant!

    Many thanks in advance,

    Janna Bennett

    Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County
    222 S Washington Street
    Crawfordsville, IN 47933

  • 2.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 02-01-2024 09:56

    Hi Janna,

    As someone who is also woefully ignorant about telescope operation, this is what I learned while prototyping experiences during the October eclipse:

    It's a lot harder to locate the sun with a telescope than you think. You can't look directly at the sun to try to site it. It moves, so you have to either have a tracking telescope or manually move it. It takes some figuring to find a scope with the right barrel length so you can get the whole sun, including the corona, in view. We worked with the local Astronomical Society to manage a telescope, and I highly recommend using folks who work with telescopes regularly to manage a telescope. We purchased them an eyepiece camera insert so we could run a live feed. 

    If you want visitors to view the eclipse non-digitally, I recommend using sunspotters, which are easily adjustable and create a projection of the eclipse. They are much more expensive than a cheap telescope but infinitely easier to manage. We also landed on binoculars with solar filters (brand-name sunoculars come with builtin filters) as the easiest magnified view of the sun for visitors as it is much easier to find the sun this way.



    Nina Ridhibhinyo
    Director of Programs & Exhibits
    ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
    Burlington VT

  • 3.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 02-01-2024 12:42
    Thank you for sharing your experiences Nina!


  • 4.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 02-02-2024 09:30

    Hi Janna,

    I recommend building one Sun Funnel per telescope and then having a feed pointed at the projection. It should be an easier set up. If you're looking at telescopes, be sure to order your filters for them asap.



    Daniel Schneiderman
    Eclipse Partnerships Coordinator
    Rochester Museum & Science Center
    Rochester NY

  • 5.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 05-10-2024 04:04

    A Total Solar Eclipse Community of Practice for the 2024 event could bring together enthusiasts, scientists, and educators to share information, promote safe viewing, collaborate on research, and organize events.

    Archi Home
    Archideal Home
    Archi Deal

  • 6.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 05-10-2024 04:05

    Thank you for sharing your experiences Nina!

    Archi Home
    Archideal Home
    Archi Deal

  • 7.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 05-10-2024 04:06
    Edited by Archi Home 05-13-2024 05:40

    Thank you for sharing your experiences Nina!

    Archi Home
    Archideal Home
    Archi Deal

  • 8.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 23 days ago

    Hi Janna,

    Great idea to get a telescope for the eclipse! For a museum setting, a digital solar telescope with projection capabilities would be fantastic.

    Here are a couple of things to consider:

    • Safety: Regular telescopes are not safe for looking at the sun directly. Look for a solar telescope with a special filter.
    • Budget: Digital telescopes can vary in price. Let me know if you have a range in mind and I can suggest some models.

    Hope this helps!

    Nora Sethi
    Trafic Tickets
    Traffic Tickets Lawyer
    Austin TX

  • 9.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 23 days ago

    Choosing a telescope for the eclipse can be a fun project, especially if you're thinking of going digital and projecting the view.  That can be a great way to share the experience with a whole crowd at the museum.

    Since you're new to telescopes, I'd recommend starting with a solar filter for a regular telescope instead of a dedicated solar telescope.  Solar filters are much more affordable and can give you a great view of the sun's surface features during the eclipse.  There are also some solar observing kits that come with a telescope and filter together, which might be a good option.

    As for projecting the image, you'll need a special solar projection screen that attaches to the telescope eyepiece.  These are fairly inexpensive and easy to find online.

    Here in the forum, we have a lot of info on both solar filters and projection screens.  If you search for "solar filter" or "solar projection" you should find some good threads to get you started.  Of course, feel free to ask any specific questions you have along the way!

    Paige Bartholomew
    Paige Bartholomew
    Hazard KY

  • 10.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 21 days ago
    Edited by sign in 21 days ago

    Purchasing a telescope for viewing and projecting the eclipse can be an exciting endeavor for your museum. Here are some recommendations and considerations to help you make an informed decision:

    Telescope Type

    1. Refractor Telescopes: These are generally low-maintenance and provide sharp images. They're good for viewing planets and the moon but can be more expensive for larger apertures.

    2. Reflector Telescopes: These offer larger apertures for a lower cost and are great for deep-sky observations. However, they require regular maintenance, such as collimation (alignment of mirrors).

    3. Catadioptric Telescopes: These combine lenses and mirrors, offering compact design and versatility. They are generally good for both planetary and deep-sky observations.

    Digital Capabilities

    1. Smart Telescopes: Modern smart telescopes, like the Unistellar eVscope or the Vaonis Stellina, come with built-in digital capabilities. They can connect to smartphones or tablets and project images to monitors. These are user-friendly and ideal for public demonstrations.

    2. Astrophotography Telescopes: These are equipped with digital cameras (DSLR or dedicated astro cameras) and can be connected to a computer to project images. Brands like Celestron and Meade offer models designed for astrophotography.

    Specific Recommendations

    1. Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 HD: This is a high-quality Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with excellent digital features. It comes with built-in WiFi, allowing you to control it with your smartphone or tablet and project images to a monitor.

    2. Unistellar eVscope 2: This smart telescope provides live viewing and can stream images to a device or monitor. It's very user-friendly and designed for easy setup and use, making it ideal for a museum setting.

    3. Vaonis Stellina: Another smart telescope that offers ease of use with high-quality digital imaging capabilities. It can connect to multiple devices, allowing for simultaneous viewing and projection.

    Additional Considerations

    1. Aperture Size: A larger aperture allows more light to enter the telescope, providing clearer and more detailed images. For eclipse viewing, an aperture of 80mm or larger is recommended.

    2. Mount Type: Equatorial mounts are excellent for tracking celestial objects as they move across the sky. Alt-azimuth mounts are simpler and more intuitive to use. For digital telescopes, computerized GoTo mounts are highly convenient.

    3. Solar Filters: Ensure you have proper solar filters to protect the telescope optics and viewers' eyes. Never look at the sun without a certified solar filter.

    4. Budget: Set a budget keeping in mind that high-quality telescopes with digital capabilities and proper mounts can range from several hundred to a few thousand dollars.

    Example Setup

    • Telescope: Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 HD
    • Solar Filter: Celestron EclipSmart Solar Filter
    • Mount: Comes with a computerized GoTo mount
    • Digital Setup: Connect via built-in WiFi to a tablet or smartphone, then project to a monitor using a compatible cable or streaming device.

    This setup provides a balance of quality, ease of use, and digital projection capabilities, making it an excellent choice for museum use during an eclipse event.

    sign in
    pindi gheb

  • 11.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 4 days ago

    Exploring the cosmos while keeping an eye on earthly matters? Delve into the mysteries of space with a telescope for your museum, all while staying informed about the gold price in Qatar City. Whether you opt for the clarity of refractor telescopes, the depth of reflectors, or the versatility of catadioptric scopes, make an informed decision to captivate your audience as you gaze at the stars, all while staying grounded in current affairs.

    hassa khsac
    Biosphere - Environment and Climate Change Canada
    Montreal QC

  • 12.  RE: Solar Telescope

    Posted 20 days ago

    Hi Janna!

    For your museum's eclipse viewing, I recommend the Celestron NexStar Evolution 8. This digital telescope is excellent for beginners and professionals alike, offering WiFi connectivity and compatibility with mobile devices for easy control. Its high-quality optics provide clear, detailed images of celestial events, and it has the capability to project images to a monitor, perfect for public viewing. Additionally, consider the Meade Instruments LX90 series, which also offers advanced features and reliable performance. Make sure to get a solar filter to safely view the eclipse. Best of luck with your event, and clear skies!

    sewest sewest
    Valley Stream NY