The Sun

Sun Seen Through Filter. Image Credit: M. Willemin

Sun as Seen Through My Telescope With A Solar Filter
The Sun: When thinking about astronomy, the Sun is often overlooked. However, the Sun is in fact one of the most intriguing objects to view. The sun is one of the most complex bodies in our solar system and represents the many stars we see at night. How does the Sun compare to these other stars? The Sun is a medium to small sized star. It has a long lifespan compared to the brightest, bluest stars as it burns its hydrogen fuel very slowly. The Sun is a little under halfway through its lifespan at 4.5 billion years old, roughly the same age as the Earth. It will continue to burn for another 5 billion years. One doesn’t need high tech equipment to view the Sun. You don’t even need a filter. In order to view the sun without a filter, you’ll need a telescope and a piece of blank paper. NOTE: DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY THROUGH A TELESCOPE. You will be using your telescope to project a picture of the sun onto the paper. All you have to do is line up your telescope with the sun and point the eyepiece at the paper. Unfortunately you can’t use this method for long as it could damage your telescope by melting certain components. If you have a filter you can attach it to the telescope and look directly into your telescope. If you don’t have a telescope you can get a piece of welders glass and look at the sun through it. Welders glass can be found at most hardware stores. All 3 of these methods will be able to show you sunspots. Unless you have some very expensive filters, don’t expect to see a broiling surface as that is covered by the photosphere. The Only time you can look directly at the Sun is during a total eclipse. During an eclipse, you can see the corona, or outer atmosphere, of the Sun. If you want to see this, you're in luck as there will be a total solar eclipse over the continental United States on August 21st.

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