You don’t need fancy equipment to observe a solar eclipse!

by Jorge

It’s been almost ten years since the last time I observed a solar eclipse. Sadly, on the place I lived back then, La Laguna in Tenerife, it was only a partial eclipse. I had no better luck this time.

Nowadays, I live in small town of France called Besançon. Apart from good wine and cheese there is an old observatory where they organized a public observation of the partical eclipse this morning.

Tons of people observing the solar eclipse in Besançon, France. Credit: GalileoMobile

Tons of people observing the solar eclipse in Besançon, France. Credit: GalileoMobile

Hundreds of people gathered around the Besançon Observatory to observe it, including students with their teachers.

Solar Eclipse projection. Credit: GalileoMobile

Solar Eclipse projection. Credit: GalileoMobile

Some people brought their own telescopes, binoculars or specials glasses, all with the appropriate filters, to safely look at the Sun. There was even a man taking pictures with a webcam connected to a laptop!

Taking pictures of the solar eclipse. Credit: GalileoMobile

Taking pictures of the solar eclipse. Credit: GalileoMobile

People who didn’t have special filters just made a projection of the Sun with a small telescope on cardboards. That is what we do during the GalileoMobile activities to safely observe the Sun. “There is a small black dot on the surface of the Sun”, I heard. “That is a sunspot, a region of the Sun’s surface that is colder and therefore appears darker”, a teacher replied. “Wooow”, the students yelled.

But you don’t need fancy equipment to observe the eclipse. People were using his hands or carving holes in boxes to make a pinhole camera to project the image of the Sun onto papers. You can do the same with the leaves on the trees but good luck to find any leaf on trees at the end of winter in France!

Kids using slotted spoons to observe the solar eclipse. Credit: GalileoMobile

Kids using slotted spoons to observe the solar eclipse. Credit: GalileoMobile

My favourite method was the one used by a bunch of kids that were holding slotted spoons in one hand and a paper on the other one to observe the eclipse. Next time I won’t forget my pasta strainer!

I spent most time observing people though. Just like Amelie liked to observed people when they were watching movies at the cinema, I liked to see the reactions of people when they look through a telescope. Try it, it’s great!

Well, at the end it was fine observing the partial eclipse, at least we got a smile from the Sun. Not bad for the International Day of Happiness!

Next time, my pasta strainer and I, will travel anywhere in the world to see a total eclipse. I wish I were in Svalbard islands with my friend Fabio today!

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