- All Lunt SUNoculars are personally tested on the Sun to assure 100% quality and safety.
- Front filters are manufactured from CE certified film to ensure the highest level of viewing quality.
- The light of the Sun is reduced to a comfortable 1×10-5% transmission and all ultraviolet and infrared components are completely and safely blocked. The Sun will appear as a pleasant orange color.
- Lunt SUNoculars-mini are manufactured to the same standards of safety typical to the entire family of Lunt Solar products - the premier manufacturer of Solar telescopes and filters.
- Ages 13+
Sunoculars Mini (Yellow) with 6x the magnification of Eclipse Glasses
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|Brand Name||Lunt Solar Systems|
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Lunt 6x30 White Light Mini Sunoculars are perfect for kids 13yrs+. Weighing less than 10ozs, the pocket-sized mini Sunoculars are equipped with front mounted filters, 30mm objective aperture, 9.0mm eye relief, fixed eyecups, OD-5 transmission, and an individual eyepiece focus to ensure high-quality Solar observation that is 100% safe.
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The day after I received them I tried again, all but prepared to try the $129 Sunoculars, and voila! The sun showed up as a small, pale orange circle (not dissimilar to an incandescent light bulb). What was the difference?
1. If you wear eyeglasses (I do), take them off.
2. Get an idea of just wear the sun is at in the sky before putting the sunoculars to your eyes (I used my free hand to both point to a location and block the sun).
3. Put the sunoculars to your eyes and look to the spot in the sky where the sun is at.
4. Slowly scan in that vicinity (the sun always seems to appear from nowhere).
5. Once you have the sun in your sights, focus the sunocular lenses.
It may seem ridiculous but I'm practicing everyday leading up to the eclipse!
One final note, I did hear back from Lunt, offering encouragement and assurances that every product is tested prior to shipping it out.
IMHO they're not toys. They're not junk. The lenses are glass and the image is clear and sharp. It's an honest product. It's not plastic Spiderman toy binoculars with filters. I get the impression someone thought about designing them for their purpose.
Many compromises that would make them disappointing as general-purpose binoculars don't matter for their intended purpose. They're Galilean, non-prismatic. The field of view is small, but there would be no benefit to it being larger. The lenses do not appear coated, but light loss is obvoiusly not an issue, nor is this a situation where you are going to be trying to view delicate dim objects while something else bright is shining into the lenses. The lenses focus individually, which is slightly less convenient than center-focus-plus-right-eyepiece, but--you are only going to focus them once! I think the lenses are achromatic; I couldn't detect any trace of color fringing looking either at the sun or at a bright LED headlamp shining straight into binoculars.
At first (i.e. during my first minutes of use) I found it a little bit hard to _find_ the sun, because of course you can't see _anything_ else, the field is totally black. It will also take a bit of practice to learn not to catch a momentary direct glimpse of the sun when bringing the glasses up to my eyes or putting them down.
I can't make any judgements of their safety. The manufacturer says it uses "OD-5" filters which I assume means optical density of 5, reduces brightness to 1/100,000. It seems, on quick Googling, that the surface brightness of the sun is 3*10^9 nits, so the filter should reduce that to 30,000 nits, which is five times as bright as the full moon (6,000 nits). It's about the same as the cardboard "eclipse viewer" glasses I have, and maybe a bit brighter than the daylight blue sky. The sun looks like an orange-yellow disk, neither dim nor bright. I have to trust that it is attenuating the invisible infrared and ultraviolet, too; the manufacturer says it does, "The light of the Sun is reduced to a comfortable 1×10-5%[sic] transmission and all ultra-violet and infrared components are completely and safely blocked." (They probably didn't mean to put that percent sign!) Anyway, they're a US manufacturer and their other products are serious sun-observation gear, so it's not like buying it from a toy company.
I was able to focus both eyepieces to match my vision (which is quite different in both eyes). I also found that the I was able to use them while wearing my eyeglass, but this isn't ideal because there's no way to screen the glare coming in from around the sides.
To be honest I'm not really sure what I expect to see! I'm hoping to see the solar eclipse this year (2017) and of course I'll be watching the partial phases, and I suppose it will be fun to be able to see that first tiny sliver of sun disappear. There are no sunspots today (according to a real-time website) so I can't tell you how easy it is to see sunspots with these.
The only thing I worry about is the public impression I will make looking at the sun through what seem to be binoculars--setting a bad example if any kids are watching, who might not understand just how dangerous it would be to look at the sun through regular binoculars. I guess I sort of wish they had put great big labels on them saying "SPECIAL SUN-VIEWING BINOCULARS."
There are a couple of things I didn't like but not enough to knock a star. They are an excellent value and they do clearly explain what you're getting but reading and understanding the potential problems can be hard so here are my personal small irritations with using the Sunoculars.
First, the focusing is done by swiveling the eye cap for each side. Basically, you have to adjust one eye to be sharp and clear then focus the other eye. This is a bit harder than it sounds because it's hard to keep the sun in your field of vision. There is no tripod mount so you have to search and then hold them steady while you are trying to turn one of the eyepieces to focus it. Once each eye was in focus it doesn't need to be done again so at least that makes it better. Most in my group didn't need to have it adjusted any different than what focusing I did for myself, making it more of a one time focusing hassle.
Second, they don't come with a proper case or even lens caps. This can be seen in the picture but that clear plastic is basically how you're going to store them unless you happen to have a good empty case on hand.
Third, it's actually quite hard to find the sun with these. You need to put them up to your eyes first then look up and try to find the sun. This can't really be helped because of the nature of them and the need to keep your eyes safe. A few couldn't find the sun at all using these, while others could with a bit of searching. About 15 seconds of searching was the best we could do. Sometimes I would find it no faster than about 45 seconds.
If you're interested in the sun then these are a great value. We really enjoyed them and plan on keeping them for seeing more sunspots and eclipses in the future. While these are made very simply how often do you really want to see the sun? More expensive sun filtering Sunoculars would cost much more. These are perfect for the backyard scientist/astronomer who wants to see the sun at times while not spending a fortune.
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