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I'm hoping to see the April 2024 total eclipse (which would be my first), and am considering buying equipment to improve the view. Of course I'll have generic solar filter glasses, but I'm wondering if magnification would be helpful. (I'm not going to spend time on photography, as I don't want to be distracted from the experience, and there will be plenty of photos posted that are better than what I could produce.)

So, for those who have seen total eclipses: would binoculars give me a better view of totality? If so, what field width would cover the most interesting part of the corona?

Edit: I'm considering getting a pair of very-wide-angle binoculars, e.g. the Orion 2x54 Ultra Wide Angle Binoculars. Would that help with viewing the corona?

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    $\begingroup$ 600-800mm focal length for a full frame camera leaves enough room for view of the corona. No binoculars would be anywhere near that, so pretty much any would do. There would not be much extra detail to view, as the corona is kinda fuzzy to begin with. Also, it would be a very serious issue if totality ended while you were looking through them. So I don't think they'd be a worthwhile use. $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2023 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ Lots of info & diagrams from Fred Espenak for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2024 Apr 08 eclipsewise.com/solar/SEprime/2001-2100/SE2024Apr08Tprime.html $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Jun 20, 2023 at 1:29

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Speaking from my experience of the 1999 eclipse visible from southern England, no. Use your naked eyes and commit the experience to memory.

I was lucky to see a gap in the clouds that day, many weren't.

Don't get hung up on optical aids, as you suggest, they can distract you from the experience.

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For the 2017 Solar Eclipse, I used a package of 10x35mm binoculars with mounted aluminized Mylar filters I got from Meade. Useful for following the partial stages of the eclipse, and then you pop off the filters for totality, which helped me see the solar prominences on the lunar limb and details in the inner corona. Make sure to devote most of your time to observing with the naked eye, though, (the full span of the corona is big) and be careful not to be looking through the binos when totality ends.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree that binoculars are ideal for viewing totality, the corona, etc. The thing you want to see with unaided eyes is the rest of the sky far from the eclipse. $\endgroup$
    – JohnHoltz
    Jun 23, 2023 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I'm considering getting a pair of low-magnification binoculars, e.g. the Orion 2x54 Ultra Wide Angle Binoculars, for viewing the corona. Any thoughts? $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2023 at 15:12

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