Do not do any of this without the right equipment.
Galileo likely did not go blind from his work with sunspots, but hey, it makes a good story.
We took a walk along the edge of the bay at sunset, as we do, and I stared at the sun, as I foolhardily do, and I saw the spot.
I took a picture of it, brought it home (an anachronism from when we "carried" pictures on film until we got the film developed), and blew it up.
Just to the lower left of center, you can see the smudge. It was more noticeable nekkid eye, but you can see it well enough above.
Not so long ago, that would be the end of the story. I could check again the next day, see the spot travel across the face of the sun (as they do), and ponder the imponderables of distances and spinning stars.
(I used to use Pop Tart packages as sun filters--they were made of Mylar, and you can see the sun through them. DO NOT DO THIS! I would follow clusters of spots for days.)
Here's the 21st century version of the same game:
|From Spaceweather.com, credit SDO/HM|
Spaceweather.com posts daily photos of the sun--you can see "my" sunspot in the April 5 shot, in the same spot as mine.
Here's my question (and I am not asking rhetorically)--which feels more real to someone who grew up with these lightboxes that now define our vision, the sunlight that hit my retina, or the image by Spaceweather.com?
Do children even need to be warned not to stare at the sun anymore?