Review - Lunt Solar Systems SUNoculars 8x32
Posted: 4 September 2016
Recently I saw a post on Facebook from Scott Kardel (formerly of Palomar Observatory and the International Dark-Sky Association, now an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Palomar College) asking about a product called "SUNoculars". They sounded interesting for general white light viewing of the Sun and a useful item for next year's Total Solar Eclipse. I did an online search and discovered that they are a product of the well-known and trusted Lunt Solar Systems. I have a (pre-Meade) Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (PST) purchased in 2004 from the predecessor company of Lunt and it continues to perform well. So how could I go wrong with solar observing binoculars from Lunt?
Since I live just north of Tucson where Lunt is based, I contacted them to set up an appointment to checkout the SUNoculars. They were very accommodating and on a day with rain forecasted, I visited them. Unexpectedly the sky was mostly clear! I got to spend time checking out the SUNoculars on the Sun. I was impressed with the visual quality. The Sun appeared as a natural "white light" disk. Three very small sunspots were visible. I purchased the SUNoculars 8x32 Red.
The SUNoculars includes a very nice soft case with a shoulder strap, the SUNoculars, neck strap for the SUNoculars, cleaning cloth, and a pamphlet of instructions:
As with most quality binoculars, you can adjust the eyepieces for your eye separation and focus the view for your eyes. There is also an diopter adjustment for the right eye. The SUNoculars include covers for the aperture lenses as well as the eyepieces. Here is a view of the SUNoculars with the covers removed and the eye guards extended:
Of course, when I arrived back home after visiting Lunt the sky was cloudy with some rain occurring. Figures.
Once the sky cleared I did some more tests with the SUNoculars. The view of our Sun was very good, with only a very slight color fringing along the edge of the Sun. The eye guards worked well to shield out stray light from the eyes. On the morning I was viewing the Sun three small sunspots of AR2585 were visible. There was a slight breezy blowing but the SUNoculars are lightweight so viewing a steady image of the Sun was possible. Bracing against a wall also helped.
The SUNoculars are high quality binoculars for safe viewing of the Sun. The neck strap on the SUNoculars has soft padding and is very comfortable to wear. The 8X magnification provides a comfortable handheld view, with small sunspots being visible. A solar disk with larger sunspots will be a joy to view with the SUNoculars. The SUNoculars will be my grab-n-go viewing aid to check out the Sun to see if I want to view the Sun through one of my telescopes. The SUNoculars will also be an essential item for my viewing of future partial solar eclipses. If you enjoy viewing our Sun in natural white light, the SUNoculars 8x32 is an accessory you will want to have.
The SUNoculars come in red, yellow, blue, and black body colors. I chose the Red color so that I would not confuse other binoculars I have that have grey bodies with the SUNoculars and so pick up a wrong one for Sun viewing. Lunt also sells SUNoculars (mini) 6x30 in red, yellow, and blue for $30 that are designed more for children.
While I was at Lunt I also purchased one of their Solar Hats with neck protection for $30:
The Solar Hat is a very high quality hat and provides a lot of UV protection when viewing the Sun or doing any outdoor activities. There is a small zippered pocket in the neck cover and a clip on a cord to secure the hat to your shirt to keep it from blowing away. Highly recommended!
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