Good Question: Do you need a special filter to view the eclipse through a telescope?

Good Question: Do you need a special filter to view the eclipse through a telescope?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — While a lot of us will view the total solar eclipse using just our own eyes and a pair of special glasses, telescope users will get an even better view. But, the telescope itself isn’t enough to ensure you’re watching it safely.

Robert wrote to News10NBC saying, “I bought a pair of those special safety glasses at the planetarium and I was thinking of also using my telescope. Should I be looking for a special filter for those lenses too?”

The answer is yes. If you plan to view the eclipse through a telescope, you will need to attach a solar filter to the front of your telescope to protect your eyes. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

The solar filter should have a rating of ND 5.0which means it blocks 99.999% of sunlight. You’ll want to use the filter before and after totality to avoid eye damage. However, during the three minutes and 38 seconds of totality, reports it is safe to remove the lens to get a better look at the corona. 

Be very careful, though, because as soon as totality ends, that solar filter should go right back on the front the telescope. 

NASA says the solar filter on the front of your telescope essentially does the same thing as a pair of these special eclipse glasses. So, you won’t need to wear these if you’re using a solar filter. 

Looking to buy a solar filter? Click here for some options.

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