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I'm going to Nebraska for the 2017 eclipse, and am weighing my options. I'm considering whether to pack my 40mm Coronado PST or to make a Baader AstroSolar filter for my 66mm William Optics apo. I've used the PST for transits and annular eclipses past, but have never seen a total solar eclipse before.

Can I see the diamond ring effect (aka Baily's beads) with my PST, or should I stick with white light?

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Experimental answer, at least with a 40mm PST: No.

Don't worry, I didn't miss much of it :)

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Since no one else has answered, I will provide my opinion. Let me mention that I have not seen a total eclipse since 1991, so I do not remember the diamond ring affect explicitly, and my notes do not mention it.

I think the diamond ring can only be seen with the naked eye. It consists of the inner corona on one side of the moon and the last bit of photosphere on the opposite side of the moon. I believe that the inner corona is not visible in any type of filter. That is why I am speculating that the diamond ring is a naked eye phenomena only.

WARNING The diamond ring occurs as the partial phase ends and totality begins, and then when totality ends and the partial phase begins. Of course you need to be extremely careful when looking at the partial eclipse with the naked eye. Essentially, you cannot look! It would be better to use a hand held filter to block the photosphere while looking at the corona without the filter.

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  • $\begingroup$ That sounds plausible. This also very plausible looking image got my hopes up, but of course photographs cannot be trusted to capture what the eye sees: goo.gl/images/1zCR2T $\endgroup$
    – jkade
    Jul 26 '17 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ I tested this on the way into totality and confirmed that, no, the diamond ring is not at all visible. (Though it was awesome to watch Bailey's beads with such precision.) I accepted the risk to my vision and watched the diamond ring on exit, unmagnified of course. It was the most beautiful moment of the whole eclipse. $\endgroup$
    – jkade
    Sep 18 '17 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ Saw it naked eye from naked eye from my loc in NE. I think light high cirrus helped. Bailey's beads also, and a red spot. $\endgroup$ Jun 7 '18 at 14:21

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