Safe Daytime Observing
At a Young Astronomers Meeting, a member of the Amateur Observers' Society of NY used special eclipse glasses to demonstrate a solar eclipse.
(photo credit: Linda Prince)

If you think you can only observe at night, you could be really missing out. These astronomy clubs are taking their telescopes out and looking at some brilliant daytime objects. Surprised that you can see the Moon during the day? Find out what else is up!

Never observe the Sun directly or with sunglasses! You could permanently damage your eyes. Telescopes require a special filter to observe the Sun.

Dale Flippo of the Springfield Astronomical Society (MO) showed both the Sun and the Moon to a great audience last month. "Everyone enjoyed looking at the sun, even if there were no sunspots visible. The Hydrogen-Alpha telescope did show a couple of solar flares. As the day progressed, we put one telescope on the moon, and people were amazed that they could see the moon during the day."

The North Houston Astronomy Club took a class outside and used models to explain Moon phases and more. Aaron Clevenson reports: "We went out into the sun and used the yardstick and two balls to demonstrate eclipses. It became very apparent to the students that eclipses between the moon and the sun are special events. It also very well demonstrated why lunar eclipses and solar eclipses vary so much in their observability."

Elsewhere in Missouri, Neta Apple of the StarGarden Foundation had a great time with some bright students at the Sterling Elementary School. "This was perhaps the best and most fun class I have ever visited. For most of the students it was the first time they had seen a telescope and may be the only time they have a chance to see our star. The Sun cooperated nicely- though there were no sunspots, my filtered telescope revealed a very nice loop prominence! After the students were done their teacher went inside and invited the rest of the teachers who could to come out and look at the Sun."

Attend a sun party and learn more about the wonders of daytime astronomy. To find an astronomy club near you, click here.