Transit Photography

Photographing and viewing the sun or any solar event can be a challenging task. The bright glare of the sun needs significant filtering before it becomes safe to view or photograph. Professional astronomers use narrowband filters like Hydrogen - alpha filters to view the sun in a very narrow spectrum of the sun. These things cost several thousands of dollars and are not accessible to most people.
However there are cheap and inexpensive ways to view the sun that will not stress your pocket at all.

Pinhole Projection

Its is the most simple type of a camera. All you need is a shoebox to make it. No glass required!. Puzzled.....?

The fact is that a simple hole punched into a piece of cardboard can make for a easy focussing mechanism. All you have to do is to take a box and punch a small hole on one side, and make a small viewing port on one of the sides of the box. Point it to the sun, and presto, one really cheap and safe solar viewer.

Binocular Projection

If you have a binocular, you can make this even more fun. Binocular projection is similar to a pinhole projection, the only difference being that the pinhole is replaced with a binocular or a small telescope. The advantage is that images come out more sharper and brighter than that is possible with a pinhole camera

Image Courtesy: Wycombe Astronomical Society
You can be imaginative and make your own ingenious contraption like the one above.

Solar Filtering

The use of homebrewn filters is recommended to seasoned astronomers only who understand the risks involved! There are however very simple ways to observe an eclipse without putting your eyes in harms way. One of the simplest method to observe the sun safely is through a pinhole projection camera. This can be used for viewing the partial phases of a solar eclipse or planetary transit. If you are watching a solar eclipse, its perfectly okay to view the sun without a filter during TOTALITY ONLY.

It is never safe to look at the sun, without the proper equipment and techniques. You must remember that the eye does not have any pain receptors, so you will not know if any damage occurred until its too late.

Alternatively you may use a solar filter to view the eclipse. These days a lot of different commercial and trusted filters are available in the market. Typically these are aluminum-mylar filters, i.e. a thin layer of aluminum is coated onto a mylar film, something similar to how your lays potato chips packaging and CDs are made. Please do not use CDs and food packaging material as the coating on them may not be sufficient to prevent eye damage.

During the transit safe solar safety glasses will be available from Nehru Planetarium for purchase.

Eclipse Goggles