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How good are solar binoculars?

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#1 HouseBuilder328

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 12:46 PM

I've always started out with binoculars - looks like solarscopes are pretty expensive!   How are solar binoculars and what kind of image should I expect to see through them?  Would I be able to see any details?   Here's an example:

 

https://www.bhphotov..._sunocular.html



#2 ButterFly

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 12:57 PM

Not much right now - the Sun is pretty quite.  Those binos are just white light, not H-alpha.  You are much better off getting Baader AstroSolar film and making your own cuffs to slip onto the objectives of your binos.  When the Sun picks up again, you will see sunspots at 8x. 

 

H-alpha is the expensive stuff.  You can, of course, spend hundreds on each 50mm etalon, but that's just a waste for only 8x or so.


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#3 MartinPond

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 01:00 PM

One problem with most solar binoc/telescope filters

is that they meet a standard for unaided viewing.

Consequently, they can look really dim at working power.

The reviews are pretty good, so that might not be too bad..

 

If you want to see good detail, though, projecting onto a white

  surface and adjusting for a large image really improves the detail,

  and to see true telescope-level details, you need the expensive

  Coronado or Daystar units....they have extremely narrow notch filters.

 

Some white card stock on a piece of plexiglass, projected onto

by a 25mm eyepiece on an 80mm F5 scope, provided pizza-sized

sun image with good solar spot details.  Done through the

star diagonal, it puts your 'screen' (handheld)  at an angle

where you can avoid any direct sun lighting....it's awesome..


Edited by MartinPond, 23 May 2019 - 01:01 PM.

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#4 aa6ww

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 02:06 PM

I  have a black pair of those. I bought them for the Solar Eclipse we had in 2017 since I was working during that event. People around me had pinhole devices, and other devices because  we were not allowed to bring telescopes onsite. The binoculars are very impressive. The are extremely sharp. For an Eclipse, or if you want to take a quick look at the sun to see where sunspots are, they are excellent. With the big sunspots that are coming and going on the sun right now, they can give you a fast look at what they look like and where they are on the surface if you cant set up a solar scope.

 

We just had AR2740 and AR2741 travel across the surface, and being at work in the day time, I was happy to have my binoculars to see them. I followed them from day to day and once the weekend was here, I set up my solar scopes and observed those large sunspots under higher magnifications in both white light with my larger APM-152ED in both white light and also using my 90mm HA filter. The Binoculars compliment your other solar scopes, especially if you use it like I do, to get your solar fix when  you cant set up a telescope. You probably wont be happy if this is your only solar instrument depending on your expectations, because 8X is too low a magnification to see the details you probably want to see.

 

The binoculars are very well made and very solid. They focus well as you would expect for the price they cost and because they are from Lunt. You don't need support at 8x to hold them steady. At work lean again a wall to or a post to use them.

 

With the low in solar prominences we are going through right now, the white light filters can still make solar observing pretty fun. Sometimes you wanna see the entire body, not just the close up details.

 

Don't let people talk down the White light Solar experience to you. These binoculars make fast solar observing fun and even with no sunspots visible, just observing the sun in itself, using any type of filter is impressive.

 

...Ralph


Edited by aa6ww, 23 May 2019 - 02:10 PM.

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#5 TOMDEY

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 03:11 PM

Well, I have the Coronado BinoMite, and find it to be kinda --- Terrible!

 

In theory, one would expect this to be ultra-convenient, for just taking a quick look at the sun, to "see of anything is going on."

 

Indeed, that was my intent, to just stroll out onto the deck and decide whether to haul out the 80mm Lunt H-Alpha and the 100mm white-light refractor and CaK filter, camera, computer, etc. The BinoMite would allow me to decied that in a minute. But no; here are the actual-use problems: >>>

 

>the biggest issue is finding the sun, at all! 10X, smallish field and swinging hand-held around and complete blackness --- until the sun swims thru the field. I've used binos and optical instruments my entire life, and trying to find Sol turns out to be frustratingly difficult.

>At 10x, hand-held, looking way up... the sun is swimming around so uncontrolled, that I can't really scrutinize it, anyway. And if it just happens to pop outa the field; I'm lost again!

>Note that the usual way one aims binos is to look directly at the target (e.g. a bird, star, moon) and then pop the binos in-line. You just can't do that with the sun, for obvious reason. And there are no reference objects around (tree to the left, above the roof...) just blackness... very disorienting.

>And, because the binos are straight-thru, you've got the sun blasting your face, as you stare right in its direction... just not good.

 

I find that just a plain welder's glass is better. No other optical aid. If I can see a ~naked eye~ sunspot at 1x, it's obvious that I will be hauling out the solar scopes!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 108 80 88 Coronado Binomite Solar Binos.jpg
  • 109 naked eye sun spot easily seen thru welders glass.jpg

Edited by TOMDEY, 23 May 2019 - 03:13 PM.

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#6 Bob4BVM

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 03:44 PM

Martin & Tom's comments nail it IMHO.

Too little magnification to be useful and hard to acquire target & focus.

Lots of options for filtering your existing binocs are better. Spend your 129 on a nice pair of 10x50s and get some filter material.

 

And $129 ???.  I picked up two pairs of these Lunts a thrift shop after the eclipse for under $5 apiece. They had more sets there to boot. I was buying them just as possible scavenging material for EP lenses.

 

CS

Bob


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#7 Rich V.

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 04:17 PM

IMO, if you don't have a high mag bino and solar filters, a 10x50 or whatever will project a suitable image onto a screen of some sort.

 

For projected viewing, I rigged a shoebox lid into a sunshade and had one lens of a 10x50 looking through it.  I then projected a large image onto a white paper plate. The box lid creates a shadow to hold the plate in.   I saw much more detail than some low mag view and was able to share the view as well.

 

Phone snapshot of a paper plate projection:

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  • 20140107_142551_resized.jpg SunII.jpg2.jpg

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#8 ButterFly

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 10:35 PM


>Note that the usual way one aims binos is to look directly at the target (e.g. a bird, star, moon) and then pop the binos in-line. You just can't do that with the sun, for obvious reason. And there are no reference objects around (tree to the left, above the roof...) just blackness... very disorienting.

>And, because the binos are straight-thru, you've got the sun blasting your face, as you stare right in its direction... just not good.

 

I find that just a plain welder's glass is better. No other optical aid. If I can see a ~naked eye~ sunspot at 1x, it's obvious that I will be hauling out the solar scopes!

It's not all that bad.  For handheld, I align the shadow behind me to find the az, then work my way up from the horizon.  I understand this can be a problem if you can't spin around or bend down to far, but you get used to it quickly if you can.

 

But yes, the sun does still shine on you while observing.  For straight through, giant cardboard surrounding the objectives is better.  If the sun is blocked by the cardboard, it's in the field of view of the cardboard.  The film wears much faster than the binos, so just swap them out in a few years.

 

Don't forget the sunscreen.



#9 Binojunky

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:22 AM

Years ago I had the Coronado Minomite 10x25, not cheap at the time and I didn,t have it long, not very good IMHO, fast forward to eclipse time  and I ordered the Celestron EclipSmart in both the 10x25 and 10x42 sizes, the smaller ones went back, the 10x41 I kept, it was cheaper than chips and it will show the larger sunspots, D.


Edited by Binojunky, 24 May 2019 - 09:25 AM.


#10 aa6ww

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 02:40 PM

10X is too much for hand holding. Lunt did it right by making these 8x. They are small enough to hold very solidly and I think are at their best for solar eclipse.

I just used mine here at work. No sunspots today but its still amazing to look at that big round fireball knowing that this is one of the reasons life exist here today.

Right now, the sun is early directly over head so its best to sit down in a chair with a back and let your head rest on the set back or lean back.  At 8x, its a no brainer to locate. It should only take you a few seconds to locate the sun and once you find it, the center focus makes it easy to get them sharp.

 

...Ralph



#11 edwincjones

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 05:47 AM

I had the old Coronado 12x60 binoculars and they were terrible-just too dim.

 

 had 7x50/ 10x70 fujinons with filters and they was  good

with larger sunspots and Venus transit.

 

I now use a Leica Duovid 10+15x50 with solar filters

and it has been great with eclipses-both partial and annular.

 

Bottom line, solar binoculars are good for a glance,

but for more detail you really need a scope to get

higher mag to get a good view of the sunspots.

 

frown.gif frown.gif   edj


Edited by edwincjones, 25 May 2019 - 05:50 AM.

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#12 MartinPond

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 06:08 AM

I had the old Coronado 12x60 binoculars and they were terrible-just too dim.

 

....

....

 

This is a common problem.

Even the filter I bought for the 80mm scope had it.

 

Most of the mylar filters are made to a standard for

1X use, over the eyes.....not for final use..

with any magnification, they dim badly.

 

12x would be miserable



#13 NGC 2419

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 05:50 PM

I've always started out with binoculars - looks like solarscopes are pretty expensive! How are solar binoculars and what kind of image should I expect to see through them? Would I be able to see any details? Here's an example:

https://www.bhphotov..._sunocular.html


I got a brand new pair of these on eBay for $30, there are some there right now for <$50.

While have have 2 pair of larger binoculars with homemade filters, I love having a pair of these handy for a quick look. They fit nicely in the glove box.

Clear skies!

#14 Simon B

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 10:08 AM

I already had 2" filter holders for several of my binoculars to use with UHCs, so I thought why not make some 2" solar filters?

 

I have found the sun to be very easy to spot with my 8x binoculars - no trouble at all. They're good fun, can sometimes see a sunspot or two...  if there are any clouds out, I can actually see the clouds illuminated around the sun, which is quite cool : )  It's a just fun, inexpensive, and easy DIY project to make solar filters for your binos, so why not? : )  Obvious precaution, but just make sure they are SECURED ON, if they happen to fall off somehow while you're viewing... game over

 

I am definitely ready for the next solar eclipse! Who knows, maybe even a major Kreutz sungrazer will come by.... now that would be stunning through white light solar binos

 

 

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  • IMG_0106_2.JPG



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