How to See an Eclipse: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to See an Eclipse: 14 Steps (with Pictures)
How to See an Eclipse: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

Getting to see eclipses is a wonderful opportunity, and there are some people who spend a lot of time and passion chasing eclipses in different parts of the world. Basically, an eclipse occurs when one object crosses the shadow of another. Most people are familiar with solar eclipses, although there are actually lunar eclipses as well. Both are equally worth fighting for serious astronomy fans. No words or photos can replace the experience of seeing the eclipse with your own eyes.


Part 1 of 3: Seeing the Solar Eclipse

View an Eclipse Step 1
View an Eclipse Step 1

Step 1. Read a book about solar eclipses

A solar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon and earth are aligned so that the moon blocks sunlight from reaching the earth. There are two types of solar eclipses, total or partial, depending on whether you are in the "umbra" region, where the moon's shadow touches the earth, or in the outer "penumbra" of the umbra.

  • The duration of a total solar eclipse can range from a few seconds to a maximum of seven and a half minutes, as the umbra moves along the "Totality Path." There is also a so-called "annular solar eclipse," when the moon blocks the sun, but doesn't completely cover it.
  • A total solar eclipse can occur because the sun is 400 times farther from the earth than the moon, and 400 times larger than the moon, so that the sun and moon appear almost the same size when viewed in the sky.
View an Eclipse Step 2
View an Eclipse Step 2

Step 2. Be careful with the methods you shouldn't use to view a solar eclipse

Also be prepared to tell others you are responsible for. You must not view the eclipse through binoculars, telescopes, and all types of glasses, sunglasses, cloudy glass, polarizing filters, or film negatives. Neither of these tools is strong enough to protect your eyes.

Although the wavelengths of light that can be seen by the eye are blocked by these objects, it is precisely the invisible light waves that can cause damage to the eye; Ultraviolet and infrared light waves can still penetrate and cause damage as large as visible waves

View an Eclipse Step 3
View an Eclipse Step 3

Step 3. Build an eclipse viewing device or a pinhole projector

Making an eclipse viewing device or a simple pinhole projector is very easy. In general, it is the easiest and safest way to view a solar eclipse. This homemade tool only consists of thick cardboard or cardboard. The drawback is the small size of the resulting image. However, this tool is ideal for children or teenagers. They can also enjoy the process of setting up this pinhole projector and then using it.

  • Make a hole using a needle or tacks right in the center of the cardboard or thick cardboard. Place cardboard or other cardboard on the ground as a screen on which you project the eclipse.
  • Stand with your back to the sun, hold the cardboard/thick cardboard a few inches from the ground, over your shoulder or beside you. Make sure your head doesn't cover the hole. The perforated cardboard should be held in the direction of the sun and you staring at the screen you placed on the ground.
  • If the projector is pointed correctly, you can see a full circle on the thick cardboard/cardboard that you placed on the ground. The edges of the circle may be uneven. You can sharpen the focus by moving this pinhole projector closer to or further from the ground.
  • When an eclipse occurs, this circle will shrink and turn into a crescent shape if the eclipse is a partial solar eclipse. In a total solar eclipse, this circle will turn into a thin O.
  • You can also use a pinhole camera to view the eclipse.
View an Eclipse Step 4
View an Eclipse Step 4

Step 4. Use the sun filter as a viewing tool

If you choose to look directly at the sun (rather than projecting it), you should always use a solar filter as a barrier between you and the eclipse. See total solar eclipse being unprotected during times of totality is possible, but only experienced observers know the timing of accurately pinpointing the moment and when it's important to quickly put a filter between your eyes and the eclipse again, which is right before the sun rises again.

  • Since most eclipses are partial solar eclipses and most observers are novice, it is much safer to view the eclipse through a solar filter; even a flash of sunlight can damage your eyes. So, even with 99.9% coverage, the sun's rays are still very dangerous. Solar filters are available for all viewing equipment (cameras, binoculars and telescopes).
  • When choosing a solar filter for your telescope or binoculars, it's important to have a filter made specifically for the make and model you have. If the filter doesn't fit properly, or isn't used properly, your eyes could be permanently damaged.
View an Eclipse Step 5
View an Eclipse Step 5

Step 5. See the eclipse indirectly by making a projection

Projection of the eclipse through binoculars or a telescope is another safe method of indirectly viewing the eclipse. However, this method will only be safe if you use it for projection, not direct viewing. Do not look through binoculars or telescopes while they are projecting!

  • Cover the front of one side of the binocular objective with a piece of cardboard or a lens cap.
  • With your back to the sun, hold the binoculars in one hand, and point them at the eclipse so that the uncovered lens catches the eclipse. Use the binoculars shadow to help you aim the binoculars.
  • See the image projected again onto a screen, wall, or large white paper you are holding with your other hand. It should be about thirty centimeters from the binoculars eyepiece. Move the binoculars until the eclipse image appears on the cardboard, screen, or wall. The further you hold the box from the eyepiece of the binoculars, the bigger the picture will be.
  • As you get more used to this method, try attaching the binoculars to a support such as a tripod or placing them on a chair or table. The results of the image will be better because the shaking is getting smaller.
  • If you use this method to observe the sun when it's not eclipsed, move the binoculars away from the sun every minute to avoid overheating the device. Allow the optical equipment to cool for a few minutes before using it again.
View an Eclipse Step 6
View an Eclipse Step 6

Step 6. Use welding goggles

Welding goggles with a darkness of 14 or higher are one of the most affordable and widely available filters that you can use to observe the sun with the naked eye. The glass should completely cover your eyes during the observation period.

Such a filter can also be added to the front of the binocular objective. Again, all parts of the lens must be covered and if it can only cover one lens, cover the other

View an Eclipse Step 7
View an Eclipse Step 7

Step 7. Use the built-in filter

There are special types of filters that can be purchased and mounted directly on the telescope or binoculars. Some of these types of filters can be quite expensive, but there are cheaper versions that can still protect your eyes and allow you to see the sun. However, there are a few important caveats you should pay attention to when buying and installing a solar filter like this.

  • You have to be absolutely sure that the filter is a true solar filter because ordinary photographic filters no will be able to filter out harmful rays.
  • The filter must exactly match the brand and type of your equipment. Always buy filters from a trusted seller. If you have any doubts about the safety of the filter, don't use it. If you need advice, take it to the nearest planetarium or astronomy club for more expert advice.
  • Check for surface damage before installation. Mylar is easy to leak or scratch, and if this happens, the filter is no longer usable.
  • Make sure the filter is securely attached. If you need to plaster it to make sure it doesn't come off or come loose, do it right away.
  • Do not use a filter that is screwed into the eye of the binoculars or telescope. Focused light can burn or break the filter in this part of the eye through the intense heat of the sun when it is concentrated. The slightest crack or splinter can permanently damage your eyes. Only use the filter mounted on the front end of the telescope.

Part 2 of 3: Seeing the Lunar Eclipse

View an Eclipse Step 8
View an Eclipse Step 8

Step 1. Read a lot of information about lunar eclipses

Total lunar eclipses are less common than total solar eclipses. Lunar eclipses usually occur about twice a year, while total lunar eclipses occur every two or three years on average. A lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes through Earth's shadow and becomes coppery or dull red in color (also known as a "blood moon").

  • A total lunar eclipse can last for more than one hour and forty minutes although a lunar eclipse can last more than six hours if the time to cross the penumbral region is also taken into account.
  • Like solar eclipses, there are total and partial lunar eclipses which depend on the position of the earth, sun and moon.
View an Eclipse Step 9
View an Eclipse Step 9

Step 2. Prepare to stay up late

Lunar eclipses only occur during a full moon, which is when the position is exactly parallel to the Earth and the Sun. An eclipse occurs because the moon is in the Earth's shadow. Lunar eclipses usually occur at midnight for a few hours as the moon passes in and out of Earth's shadow. If you want to see the whole process, you have to stay up late.

In order to see optimally, the weather must be sunny and tend to be cloudless

View an Eclipse Step 10
View an Eclipse Step 10

Step 3. View with the naked eye or using a magnifying tool

The lunar eclipse is completely safe to view with the naked eye and without any filter. You don't need any special viewing equipment because you're not looking directly at the sun, you're actually seeing a projection of the sun on the moon. As there is no risk of damage to the eyes from the sun, no special equipment is required.

  • To get a more amazing view, you can look through binoculars or a telescope.
  • If you want to photograph a lunar eclipse, read How to Photograph the Moon for a detailed explanation of moon photography.
View an Eclipse Step 11
View an Eclipse Step 11

Step 4. Wear appropriate clothing

As you will see at night, the air may be cooler. So, wear warm clothes and maybe bring a thermos of warm drinks. Also bring comfortable seating because the eclipse will last more than an hour.

Part 3 of 3: Preparing to See the Eclipse

View an Eclipse Step 12
View an Eclipse Step 12

Step 1. Find out where and when the eclipse occurred

It's hard to see an eclipse if you don't realize it's happening! One way to know when an eclipse will occur is to use the internet and follow the latest news from trusted sites. In addition, some good astronomy books and magazines will also help you stay informed about upcoming eclipses. Some of the sites you should follow include:

  • NASA eclipse website here: this site contains explanations of solar and lunar eclipses. See also NASA's eclipse path maps for 2020 and during 2040.
  • Some of your favorite science and astronomy information websites and blogs may tell you about an upcoming eclipse when the time is near.
View an Eclipse Step 13
View an Eclipse Step 13

Step 2. Check the weather forecast ahead of the eclipse time

Some weather elements can make it difficult to observe the eclipse, such as clouds and storms. If it's sunny, you're ready to see the eclipse! Use this weather forecast to choose the appropriate outfit for viewing the eclipse. If it's winter and you're planning on seeing a lunar eclipse, you'll need thick clothing to keep warm.

View an Eclipse Step 14
View an Eclipse Step 14

Step 3. Visit the eclipse observation location before the time of observation

If it's in your own backyard, you'll be familiar with the place, but if you want to go somewhere else with a clearer view, check out the place before the eclipse. See what the area is like, where you can park your vehicle, if the location is popular, etc. There are actually a few important things to consider when choosing a good eclipse viewing location:

  • Scenery: Choose a location with a good view of the horizon so you can see the shadows as they approach and move away.
  • Convenience: Are there restrooms, soft drinks and snacks, shade options, etc?
  • Accessibility: Is it easy to reach, easy parking, easy to get around, etc.?
  • Popularity: Could the place attract a lot of tourists? Is it easy to access buses, bus parking, and is the location popular on Twitter and Facebook? You may want to find another place that is less well known so it won't be overcrowded. If you have acquaintances who have farms, farms, or properties that are quiet and open and are in the eclipse area, consider asking if they would mind if you came to view the eclipse.


  • If you can't see the eclipse outdoors, please watch it on NASA TV.
  • Sunglasses are not recommended, unless they comply with government standards. If you can't guarantee the quality and safety, you shouldn't use it.


  • Do not leave unfiltered telescopes or binoculars looking at the eclipse carelessly, just in case anyone curious to look through them without warning. You must be close to your equipment at all times. If necessary give a big warning sign, and move it if you have to leave it for a while or for a long time.
  • In addition to eye safety, pay attention to your personal safety as well. Constantly looking up at the sky can make you vulnerable to the presence of robbers or bad people who have bad intentions towards you. If you're in a place known for its safety concerns, be aware of the possibilities and don't travel to lookouts alone.
  • Remember the old man's advice: Don't look directly at the sun or you'll go blind! They are right.
  • The bigger the telescope, the more likely it is to be damaged if using the projection method, at least when looking at the sun constantly. This is because the heat generated by the image of the sun is very strong. So, only use a simple telescope like a Newtonian refractor (lens) or reflector (mirror), and not a complicated telescope for projection purposes.
  • Go with friends or people you know, and be aware of your surroundings during an eclipse. Other safety issues include looking out in the open, being aware of drivers who might lose concentration, always locking the car and, securing valuables if you are driving to a crowded public viewing area.
  • You should always supervise children during an eclipse. Watch them at all times. Don't leave them alone with the observation tool!
  • Be careful with wild animals. When observing an eclipse, whether solar or lunar, animals will feel confused and the sounds of alien animals in the dark may make you uncomfortable.
  • If you have vision problems (cataracts or an eye injury that causes the natural lens of your eye to be removed), you "must" use the correct sun filter to ensure eye protection when you view the eclipse.

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