Planets and moons get so much credit for awe-inspiring beauty through the telescopic lens, but have you ever tried to study the sun with a solar telescope? Astronomy enthusiasts everywhere share a fascination and love for focusing on the astonishing celestial bodies of space. Solar telescopes are just as exciting as regular telescopes, but they’re especially impressive because they give us the power to examine what we dare not look at with the naked eye. There’s only one safe way to stare at the sun and that’s through special filtered lenses which block unsafe light. Trying to look at the sun for any length of time with no filter is very dangerous and can cause permanent damage to the eye. But with the proper equipment, solar observation is a very fulfilling and distinct part of astronomy. The sun is a complex enigma but observing it can be very easy with the right solar scope and filters.
In this review, we look at two different, high quality, solar telescope options, that range in functionality and capability. We’ve considered first and foremost, if the telescope is safe. Both are certified for safe viewing. Light pollution is a notorious challenge for solar enthusiasts so we’ve also considered whether the telescope was capable of adapting and adjusting to this issue. We’ve also considered the precision of calibration and that of viewing, and whether the telescope is dedicated or if it can also be used to view other objects in the sky.
Top Solar Telescope Reviews of 2020
If astronomy is your hobby and you are still deciding how much you want to invest in it, we have you covered. While both models are highly affordable to the astronomy enthusiast, one may be better for a beginner and one may be best for someone taking it to the the next level in solar observation. One offers more versatility, one offers more precision. Both will offer hours of awe and inspiration. Which one will work best for you? (Want to know how many planets are in the solar system? Or how many stars? If you don’t know the answer to the latter question, you’re in serious need of a solar system model.)
MEADE Day and Night Solar Telescope
This telescope is an excellent option for entry-level astronomers and it’s highly economical. It’s weight and size makes it a convenient piece to bring with you to new viewing locations. It comes with a bonus white-light filter which is removable so it can be used during the day or night. This is an easy-to-use solar telescope. You have four different options to choose from with distinct aperture sizes: 76 mm, 82 mm and 114 mm which are all reflecting telescopes having the well-known Newtonian reflector.
They have the amazing advantage of not suffering from chromatic aberration, also being cheaper. This type of telescope can be much bigger, having the mirror fixed onto a metal plate. The 60 mm version is a refracting telescope. The advantage of using this type of telescope is it does not collect dirt and debris inside its components since the tube is sealed at both ends. This also helps to mitigate the issue of air moving inside the tube, which can cause images to appear blurry or unsteady. However, this telescope may on occasion not be as capable of removing the rainbow of light that sometimes surrounds objects as effectively as very expensive scopes might.
Based on those differences the weight is variable as well: 6 lbs, 7.2 lbs, 3.8 lbs and 10.8 lbs. The main characteristic they have in common is the removable solar filter. Normally, a white-light filter is placed over the front of the telescope, reducing the light that hits the eyepiece. This type of star observation is designed for allowing the view of the solar photosphere and sunspots. This is the cheapest option available since it can be used to see other stars and planets of the galaxy during the night. For flares or prominences on the sun’s surface, a more specialized Hydrogen-Alpha filter lens would be necessary, as the white filter will not be capable of such detail.
- Easy-to-use, point-and-look design
- 360° swivel mount
- Aluminium, fully-extendable tripod included
- Can be used night and day
- CE & ISO Certified for safe viewing
- Not weatherproofed, should not be left outside
LUNT Solar 50mm Hydrogen-Alpha Solar Telescope
The H-Alpha telescope features a built-in solar filter for solar observations with no worries. Most filters are attached to telescope eyepieces, but this isn’t the case for solar filters. Instead, they cover the aperture directly. This way, you cannot hurt your eyes when you change eyepieces. It also prevents any damage caused by sunray to your mirror or lens.
This is an advanced telescope and is perfect for safely observing the entire activity of the sun. This type of filtering also gives the most essential view of the sun, in brilliant yellow, orange, and red colours. Because dedicated H-alpha solar eclipse telescopes are designed to operate at a single wavelength, they use objective lenses and very simple eyepiece designs. They are only to be used for solar observation and never to be used for observing any other celestial objects.
This solar telescope has a 50-millimetre aperture and weighs 13.75 pounds. It includes a B400 blocking filter and 12mm eyepiece, not to mention the newest technology for fine tuning. All these allow basic research of the sun’s disk and it can show some surface details, including filaments and plagues. The spectrum in which we can observe detailed views of the sun’s surface is known to be at a 656 nm wavelength. This telescope facilitates observation of granulation, sunspots, flares and other details by restricting the unwanted bandpass of light.
- 50mm H-alpha filter
- Clamshell mount - can be used with a variety of tripods
- Travel/carry-on size
- 5-year warranty
- Tripod not included
- Not to be used for other astronomical objects