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Astronomy/Is there a safe way to view the sun without projection?


I have a Celestron Astromaster 70AZ refractor telescope given to me as a gift a. At first I just wanted to see the rings of Saturn, but when reading the manual I saw that there was some discussion about the possibility of observing the sun, as long as I use an appropriate  filter.

I browsed around the internet and found a comment from one person saying not to use a refractor telescope to observe the sun, even with a proper filter, because it's still not safe.

Then I did some more reading and found an article on ( which says simply that I shouldn't observe the sun at all.

I also saw that projection is recommended, which I might try but I'd really love to look right at the sun. Obviously I don't want to damage my vision though.

There seems to be a lot of disagreement (or misinformation), can you give me some input? I don't mind buying a new telescope if need be, as long as it's safe.


I think this site for 'Sky & Telescope' has perhaps the best guidance and also how to use the projection method:

When I began my own solar studies (many decades ago, in HS) I always used projection with my Tasco 2.4" refractor - even though an optical filter was provided. I consistently got great results.

Later, when I graduated to a Celestron - 8,  it came equipped with a Solar Screen (trademark 'Skreen') which was perfect for direct viewing as well as taking photographs.

Basically, the method really depends on how much solar work, research you want to do. If it's just to observe the Sun and sunspots (no particular need to examine morphology in detail) the projection method....with a fine.


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Philip Stahl


I have more than forty years of experience in Astronomy, specifically solar and space physics. My specialties include the physics of solar flares, sunspots, including their effects on Earth and statistics pertaining to sunspot morphology and flare geo-effectiveness.


Astronomy: Worked at university observatory in college, doing astrographic measurements. Developed first ever astronomy curriculum for secondary schools in Caribbean. Gave workshops in astrophysics and astronomical measurements at Harry Bayley Observatory, Barbados. M.Phil. degree in Physics/Solar Physics and more than twenty years as researcher with discovery of SID flares. Developed of first ever consistent magnetic arcade model for solar flares incorporating energy dissipation and accumulation. Develop first ever loop solar flare model using double layers and incorporating cavity resonators.

American Astronomical Society (Solar Physics and Dynamical Astronomy divisions), American Mathematical Society, American Geophysical Union.

Solar Physics (journal), The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, The Proceedings of the Meudon Solar Flare Workshop (1986), The Proceedings of the Caribbean Physics Conference (1985). Books: 'Selected Analyses in Solar Flare Plasma Dynamics', 'Physics Notes for Advanced Level'. 'Astronomy and Astrophysics: Notes, Problems and Solutions'.

B.A. Astronomy, M. Phil. Physics

Awards and Honors
American Astronomical Society Studentship Award (1984), Barbados Government Award for Solar Research (1980), Barbados Astronomical Society Award for Service as Journal Editor (1977-91)

Past/Present Clients
Caribbean Examinations Council, Barbados Astronomical Society, Trinidad & Tobago Astronomical Society.

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