Can You Watch The Solar Eclipse With Binoculars? Here's What You Need To Know

by Alexia LaFata

The solar eclipse is happening over the United States today, August 21, 2017, and if you're one of the many who found out about it just a little bit too late, you may be wondering if there's still time for you to watch it. You know all the necessary precautions you have to take for it, but maybe you didn't get around to ordering those special glasses everyone's talking about. So, can you watch the solar eclipse with binoculars? You know, those ones collecting dust in the back of your closet from when you were a pre-teen and you had a fleeting interest in space?

Well, yes and no. Do not only use binoculars to look at the solar eclipse — it won't protect your eyes nearly enough. The solar eclipse is no joke, you guys. You really could go blind or do serious damage to your eyes if you aren't protected, and unfortunately, binoculars will not protect you.

That said, you can use binoculars to create your own DIY projector, which will project the image of the solar eclipse onto the ground or a piece of paper. Most simple pinhole projectors don't require you to use binoculars, but if you want to enhance your view of the solar eclipse by creating bigger and sharper projection of the eclipse, use binoculars. It'll take your viewing experience to a whole new level.


The last solar eclipse in the U.S. happened on February 26, 1979, which means this is a really rare and beautiful thing to witness if you're able to do so safely — emphasis on safely. Seriously, the sun will not spare your eyeballs and it will show you no mercy, so do not under any circumstances try to get away with only using binoculars to watch the solar eclipse. I just briefly glanced outside of my window at work and couldn't even look too long because it is particularly bright right now, and the eclipse hasn't even reached New York City yet.

If you can't use binoculars to create a projector, just stay inside. There will be plenty of pictures of the solar eclipse to look at on Twitter.