Thursday, 27 August 2015

What is the best way to watch a total solar eclipse?

What is the BEST WAY to watch a total solar eclipse?

The best way to watch an eclipse is under clear sky. Beyond that I find that being in a seated position is not a bad idea either. This prevents one from blocking the view of others (I am 6'8" and am keenly aware of these sorts of things) and from tripping over a tripod (nerd fight).

So this leads one to question what exactly is the best chair for watching an eclipse. Well, again the answer is not all that straight forward since it depends on how high up the eclipsed Sun is during totality and whether or not you have equipment such as a camera to operate.

Deck chairs work great
Denise recommends deck chairs for the comfort and angle of view. They are designed for Sun worshipers and require being on board a cruise ship.

Just watch
When just watching the eclipse, almost any chair will do fine. Just make certain you have a view of the Sun and nothing blocking it (except for the Moon of course). Using a small telescope or binoculars is highly recommended to enhance the view. The easiest way to use any mounted optic is to be seated in a "normal chair".

Don't block the view!
If you are seated in a chair make sure those in front of you agree to remain seated too. Or just take advantage of that situation and get a sky plus shadows shot. The eclipse atmosphere is fun to capture.

Just watch with automated cameras
Modern astronomers prefer to use automated camera systems. They like the idea of sitting and watching while the cameras do their thing unattended. This requires a lot of trust in your equipment (remember, things WILL go wrong) and careful planning. When done well, the rewards can be amazing.

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