Posted by Marlyn Smith at 09:30 on 2013 Feb 11
Of course you are quite right with your warning that the Sun should be treated with respect and any method of observation should be well checked out and made completely safe.I watched the programme and thought the presenters did emphasise the dangers. Many solar observers use a mylar/cardboard type filter (including myself on occasions) as it’s the cheapest method for direct solar viewing. A good fit is essential and the filter should not be loose or "flapping about". The presenters commented on wind blowing the filter loose and suggested sellotaping the filter to the telescope tube as a precaution. I thought this was entirely sensible as the filter is light and any additonal method of securing it to the telescope would enhance safety. I didn’t get the impression of a "Blue Peter" type fix!Solar projection is a very safe method for solar observation but of course the observer still has to "find" the Sun safely. During projection, the telescope is NOT "safe" and there is always the risk that someone will try to look through the eyepiece. At least with a filter in place, this danger is eliminated. Solar observing is a very rewarding aspect of astronomy but the observer must be aware of the dangers and take proper precautions. I wouldn’t recommend any method of solar observation as safer than any other and I have no criticism of the Sky at Night team.