By| June 23, 2017 12:30pm ET
Gear Up for the Solar Eclipse!
When the Great American Total Solar Eclipse sweeps across the U.S. on Aug. 21, you’ll need some safety-rated gear to watch it safely. Here are Space.com’s picks for the best solar-eclipse-viewing gear, including glasses, binoculars, telescopes and more!
Up First: Essential eclipse glasses
“Sun Catcher” Sunglasses (2-Pack)
Enjoy the solar eclipse with a friend with these basic, affordable and ISO safety-rated solar eclipse glasses from Explore Scientific. ($2.49 from Explore Scientific)
Why we love it: These “Sun Catcher” sunglasses are just slightly more stylish than the standard paper eclipse viewers for the same low price.
Next: Catch the sun up close
“Sun Catcher” 50-mm Telescope
Explore Scientific’s “Sun Catcher” telescope allows for a safe, zoomed-in view of the total solar eclipse on a budget. This version comes with a 50-millimeter lens. ($20 on Amazon)
Why we love it: These telescopes are relatively affordable, lightweight and compact. They contain an ISO-rated safety filter that can be removed after the solar eclipse, making it useful for year-round stargazing – no eclipse necessary!
Next: Catch even more sun!
“Sun Catcher” 70-mm TelescopeThis 70-mm version of Explore Scientific’s “Sun Catcher” telescope gives you an even better look at the sun during the eclipse. ($60 on Amazon).
Why we love it:These telescopes are relatively affordable, lightweight and compact. They contain an ISO-rated safety filter that can be removed after the solar eclipse, making it useful for year-round stargazing – no eclipse necessary!
Next:A handy little telescope
iOptron Solar 60 with Electronic Eyepiece 8506Safely zoom in on a solar eclipse or check out the sunspots any other time with iOptron’s Solar 60 telescope. It comes with a removable solar filter, a hand controller, a 14,000-object database, an electronic eyepiece, a tripod and a carrying case. ($349 on Amazon)
Why we love it: Because this telescope is computerized, it can automatically locate objects in the sky with the touch of a button. It’s not just for watching eclipses – you can also look at stars, galaxies and planets.
Next: A practical pair of binoculars
EclipseView™ 10×50 BinocularsUse these to watch the eclipse, then remove the two solar filters inside and you’ve got a sturdy pair of outdoor binoculars! These will magnify your view 10 times while providing crucial protection from the sun’s bright light. These binoculars come with a padded carrying case, a neck strap and a cleaning cloth. ($50 from Meade)
Why we love it: Rubber armoring protects the binoculars from damage, making them great for outdoor adventures. You can use them to look at celestial objects in the night sky, or you can take them bird-watching. They’re extremely versatile and built to last.
Next: Binoculars on a budget
“Sun Catcher” 5×30 BinocularsThese little binoculars from Explore Scientific will give you a safe, zoomed-in view of the solar eclipse for just a few dollars. ($6 from Explore Scientific)
Why we love it: The solar filters may not be removable, like the more expensive solar binoculars, but these are some of the most affordable eclipse-watching binoculars you’ll find.
Next: A sleeker pair of binoculars
EclipSmart™ 10×42 Solar BinocularGet a closer look at the solar eclipse without the bulk of a telescope with a nice pair of solar binoculars. These contain ISO safety-rated filters for guaranteed safe viewing of the sun magnified 10 times. ($70 on Amazon)
Why we love it: Celestron’s full-size solar binoculars provide a wide field of view to clearly see the sun’s entire disk during the solar eclipse.
Next: Binoculars for a bargain
EclipSmart™ 10×25 Solar BinocularThese compact binoculars also magnify your view 10 times, but with slightly smaller lenses, they’re easier to transport. ($35 on Amazon)
Why we love it: Small but powerful, these binoculars can even reveal small features on the surface of the sun, like sunspots.
Next: Solar shades
EclipSmart™ Solar ShadesCelestron’s EclipSmart™ Solar Shades Observing Kit includes four ISO-certified pairs of solar eclipse glasses and a guidebook with timetables and maps for the Great American Total Solar Eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017. ($10 on Amazon)
Why we love it: The guidebook in this family pack of eclipse glasses contains useful tips for viewing the solar eclipse as well as some fun facts about eclipses.
Next: Power viewers
EclipSmart™ Power ViewersCelestron’s EclipSmart™ power viewers come with two ISO-certified safe solar eclipse-viewing binoculars and a 2017 solar eclipse map. ($10 on Amazon)
Why we love it: These foldable paper viewers can slip into your pocket for convenient stowage.
Next: Some sweet shades
Deluxe 3-Piece Sun Observing & Imaging KitCelestron’s deluxe solar observing and imaging kit comes with premium hard-frame EclipSmart™ solar glasses, a solar imaging filter and a 32-page booklet packed with useful information about the eclipse. ($27 on Amazon)
Why we love it: Use your phone (or any other camera) to capture cool photos of the solar eclipse. And the plastic eclipse glasses are more durable than the paper kind, which can easily become wrinkled or sweaty. These will last longer, plus they’re more comfortable and easier to wear.
Next: More shades!
Ultra 8-Piece Sun Observing & Imaging KitCelestron’s Ultra solar observing and imaging kit includes one pair of ISO-certified solar sunglasses, four pairs of paper eclipse viewers, one camera solar filter and a 2017 Total Eclipse Guide & Map. ($30 on Amazon)
Why we love it: It’s perfect for a family of up to six to enjoy the eclipse together.
Next: “Shades” for your telescope
Add-On Solar Filters for TelescopesTelescopes can offer a stunning view of the solar eclipse, but only with a proper solar filter to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging light. These types of filters can instantly transform your ordinary telescope into white-light solar telescopes that you can use to safely observe the solar eclipse. The Celestron EclipSmart™ solar filter shown here can fit on some Celestron PowerSeeker telescopes ($20 on Amazon). Explore Scientific’s “Sun Catcher” variable large-aperture solar filters are available in many sizes. ($15 from Explore Scientific)
Why we love it: This type of solar filter is perfect for those who already have a telescope and don’t want to buy another one just to watch the solar eclipse. If you don’t have a Celestron or Explore Scientific brand telescope, you can probably find a similar filter to fit your telescope.
Next: An easy-to-use telescope
EclipseView™ 82-mm Reflecting TelescopeThis 82-millimeter tabletop telescope by Meade has a removable solar filter to safely observe the sun. It includes 26-mm and 9-mm eyepieces and a 2x Barlow lens to adjust the magnification. A 360-degree swivel mount and point-and-look design makes it easy to use and good for beginners. Weighing less than 4 lbs., it’s super-light for a portable telescope. ($80 on Amazon)
Why we love it: This portable little telescope is great for looking at the sky day or night to observe the moon, planets and other celestial objects.
Next: A telescope with a tripod
EclipseView™ 76-mm Reflecting TelescopeMeade’s 76-millimeter reflecting telescope comes with a removable white-light solar filter, two eyepieces and viewfinders for both daytime and nighttime use. It has a slightly smaller aperture than its 76-mm counterpart but with more than twice the focal length and a focal ratio of f/9.2. ($130 on Amazon)
Why we love it: The altazimuth mount on this telescope provides slow-motion control for tracking objects that move across the sky.
Next: The mother of all EclipseView™ telescopes
EclipseView™ 114-mm Reflecting TelescopeFor an even better view of the solar eclipse and other things in space, Meade’s 114-mm EclipseView™ telescope is the way to go. When you’re not looking at an eclipse, you can use this telescope to view planets, nebulae and other cosmic sights with great clarity. ($189 on Amazon)
Why we love it: This telescope is lightweight and portable, and setup takes only a few seconds.
Next: Everything you need to know about the total solar eclipse of 2017 (and more!)
“Totality: The Great American Eclipses of 2017 and 2024”
The experts lay out everything you need to know about the Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 and the next solar eclipse that will cross the U.S. in 2024. ($23 on Amazon)
Why we love it: This comprehensive guide to solar eclipses includes plenty of history and science as well as important information for anyone planning to see either of the two upcoming solar eclipses in the United States.