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Standing in the Light: Rainbow Symphony Blog

Solar Filters and Why They're Important

solar filters

For years, humans have gazed towards the heavens with a sense of wonder and amazement – though they haven’t always done so having taken proper precautions. Some pretty incredible cosmic events take place in the stars right above us on a daily (and nightly) basis, and every so often a truly remarkable phenomenon captures the attention of more than just your casual star-gazer: a solar eclipse.

Whether you’re interested in deepening your scientific knowledge of the sun’s everyday behavior or you’re looking forward to the next solar eclipse, it is critical that you keep your eyes protected with only ISO Compliant; ISO 12312-2:2015 and ISO Certified Eclipse Shades, viewers, and solar filters.

At Rainbow Symphony, we’ve been designing products like diffraction glasses and Eclipse Shades for decades. Over the years, we have invested in research and development – and applied what we’ve learned from our own experience – to create our line of black polymer filters for a variety of viewing instruments.

Read on to learn more about solar filters and why they’re important!

How They’re Made

Our solar filter lenses are engineered from black polymer material that is designed to filter out all harmful solar radiation. This material makes them scratch-resistant and provides a safe optical density five+. The other benefit of black polymer over aluminum cell or glass filters? They’re lightweight, more affordable and saving you money.

solar filters

We offer our black polymer solar filters in the following diameters:

These lenses provide superior protection, filtering out 100% of ultraviolet and infrared light and 99.999% of intense visible light. All of our solar filters are CE Certified, meet the standard for ISO 12312-2:2015, and the transmission requirements of scale 12-16 of EN 169/1992 for safe direct solar viewing.

Why They’re Important

Attempting to view the sun during a solar event can damage your retina. During a solar eclipse, the moon moves in front of the sun, leading many to believe that it is safe to stare directly at the event. However, there are still an incredible amount of powerful, invisible solar rays hitting the naked eye, which can burn your retina – in some cases, permanently. This is known as “eclipse blindness,” which can actually result in a serious loss of vision or even blindness.

Your standard sunglasses, even if they are polarized or are made with darkened lenses, are not safe for viewing the sun as the amount of sunlight they allow to penetrate the lens is many times above the safe or acceptable limit. Glasses or devices properly outfitted with solar filters are the only safe way to look directly at the sun. While there are alternatives to black polymer solar filters, this material is lightweight, effective, and far more affordable than most other options.

orange-yellow image of the sun

Our line of black polymer filters includes multiple diameters. These solar filters are for cameras, telescopes, and binoculars; simply measure the outside diameter of your viewing instrument and purchase the filter with a diameter that’s larger than your instrument’s diameter. That way, you can be sure the filter covers the entirety of your lens, and by applying the felt tape included with the purchase of your filter, you can customize the fit to guarantee total coverage.

Once the polymer filter is properly in place around your viewing device, you’ll be able to safely view an unforgettable orange-yellow image of the sun – or even a solar eclipse.

Keep in mind: in order to ensure you’re fully protecting your eyes, you’ll need to pick up a pair of eclipse glasses, too. At some point during your solar viewing experience, you’ll likely need to move your eyes away from your viewing device (be it a telescope, binoculars, or a camera). Even when looking away, make sure your eyes are protected.

Various Applications

Our black polymer solar filters are for cameras, telescopes, binoculars, and more.

Professional photographers use solar filters for cameras to capture the incredible moments of the partial phases of a solar eclipse, while casual observers can use solar filters for binoculars and telescopes to experience the rare celestial event in real time!

But you don’t need to wait for a rare solar eclipse to take advantage of our solar filters. You can appreciate the everyday wonder of the sun safely and, if you’re a photographer, capture priceless photographs of our closest star.

A Few Helpful Tips

You must inspect your filter before applying to your viewing instrument; if there is any visible damage, you should throw it out and not use it for solar viewing.

When operating devices with solar filters around children, be sure to supervise their usage.

Always cover your eyes with a filtered device while looking away from the sun and then direct your gaze at the sun. When you’re finished looking at the sun or solar event, keep the filtered device and eclipse glasses over your eyes, avert your gaze to a safe angle and then remove the glasses and filtered device. Eclipse Shades can be worn over your prescription eyeglasses.

You should always consider seeking the advice of an expert, such as a professional astronomer or astronomical organization, before attempting to outfit your camera with a solar filter to take photographs to ensure you are taking all necessary precautions.

During a solar eclipse, if you are outside the path of totality, you need to always use eclipse shades and solar filtered equipment to view the sun directly. If you are inside the path of totality, you may remove the filter once the moon covers the sun completely; however, as soon as the edge of the sun begins to reappear, you must immediately replace your solar filtered devices and eclipse glasses.

Find the Right Fit

If you’re still looking for a reason to invest in our high-quality, dependable black polymer solar filters, don’t take our word for it: the American Astronomical Society has included Rainbow Symphony on its list of reputable vendors for eclipse glasses, viewers, and solar filters for binoculars! Explore every size of our premium and AAS and NASA-approved Eclipse Shades and filters now!

The Study of Light: Making Lessons About Light Fun for Your Students

lesson plan for your science

As an educator, there’s no greater thrill than seeing your students get excited about a subject. You know the feeling: suddenly, they’re sitting up straighter, they’re paying attention, they’re asking questions, and they’ve got that look in their eyes – they’re learning!

But it can also be easier said than done. If you’re repeating the same activities over and over again, or simply working from a textbook, you may find that attention spans run short and your students can start to lose focus. That’s why when it comes to the study of light, one of the ways to help capture your classroom’s attention is to use fun and engaging experiments to demonstrate some of the universe’s most fascinating concepts – right before their eyes!

Below, we’ll outline a few ideas to help you make a lesson plan for your science class that will help you make your students a little bit brighter when it comes to understanding the laws of light.

Begin with the Basics

First and foremost, it always helps to lay down a sturdy foundation of basic science. That includes reviewing what a scientist is, the scientific method, and why experimentation is important. This will help your students feel like they are scientists themselves – and realize that the experiments you’re about to engage in are a small part of a larger effort to provide additional proof to scientific theory.

A Few Experiments to Try

Diffraction of Light

diffraction of light

The diffraction of light is a great place to start when it comes to teaching students about the study of light and basic principles of physics. Begin by explaining the underlying concept of light diffraction: the bending of light as it moves past the edge of an object. How much that light bends will depend on the size of the opening through which the light passes, as it relates to the size of the wavelength of the light.

Now, at this point, depending on the age and level of interest your students have in science, you may start to notice the attention of your students waning. That’s your cue to introduce diffraction grating visual aids! If you have access to a slide projector, move through the various diffraction grating slides as you provide context for what it is they are looking at – the spectrum of visible light with various numbers of lines per millimeter and wavelengths of light.

Our diffraction grating slides are incredibly bright with a minimum of distracting visual noise. You can also use these in conjunction with colored gels for different color demonstrations. Last but not least, directly engage the interest of your students by passing out diffraction grating glasses that your students can experiment with themselves! Once you’ve laid the foundation of science for them, they can use these individual pairs of glasses to let them make an intimate connection between light, color, and diffraction.

UV Light

The electromagnetic spectrum can be a particularly challenging concept to teach kids, especially since only a short wavelength range falls in the visible light spectrum. Ultraviolet radiation is a critical aspect of the study of light – especially given the need for kids to understand the existence of UV light and potential dangers of prolonged exposure to it.

A fun and engaging way to visually demonstrate the power of UV light to your students is by using Sun-Bow UV Detection Beads. These beads change from a translucent white into stunning colors, including orange, yellow, blue, and pink, when exposed to UV light.

Surprise your students by introducing the day’s lesson plan for science class… with an arts and crafts workshop! Let them use pipe cleaners or string to express their creativity and make necklaces and bracelets using the beads. As they’re putting together their pieces, you can begin to plant the seeds of UV light, how it is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and is best known as the radiation produced by the sun. When you take your kids outside (or use a handheld UV light device), they’ll be thrilled to watch the beads change into a rainbow of color!

Not only will they have absorbed a lesson that they likely won’t forget any time soon, but they’ll also have a piece of original art to take home as a reminder.

Solar Eclipses

lesson plan for your science class

There is no better opportunity to teach your students about the wonders of the solar system than a solar eclipse. While these solar phenomena are rare, when they do occur, you can take advantage of the buzz and hype surrounding the event to create an unforgettable lesson plan for your science class and get your students genuinely excited about it

Your solar eclipse lesson can start well ahead of the actual event; in the days leading up to the event, outline the basic principles of the solar eclipse and why it is such a rare event. This is a great time to revisit the concepts of the solar system, how the moon revolves around the earth, which in turn, revolves around the sun. Finally, you can teach your students about the importance of safety when it comes to observing a solar eclipse (while you shouldn’t instill fear in your students, there’s no doubt that the element of danger will arguably be one of the most captivating aspects of the experience – and will certainly get their attention).

Once you’ve covered the underlying scientific principles of a solar eclipse and its relationship to the study of light, you can hand out individual eclipse viewers to your students. This can be done the day before the event to give them a chance to prepare. You can go through a dry-run of how to safely view the event through the viewers, and let them ask any questions or express any concerns.

On the day of the event, you can lead your students outside to witness the solar eclipse for themselves. Make sure everyone has their eclipse viewer and remembers the safety protocol. Your students will inevitably be excited to be outdoors and to finally be witnessing this event that you’ve been building towards for days or weeks.

After the eclipse, you can head back into the classroom, where you can revisit the basic principles of the solar eclipse now that you’ve actually seen it first-hand.

Follow Up Questions

After the experiment, take a few minutes to actually recap what just happened. This doesn’t have to be a quiz or a test (remember, we’re trying to make this fun, after all!); you can instead build off of the buzz of energy likely humming around your classroom – you might notice that suddenly even the quiet kids are more willing to raise their hands!

What did we just learn? What are the vocabulary terms we use to describe what just happened? And more importantly, why did what just happen actually happen?

This recap conversation can help ensure that the lesson plan for your science class sticks for both the visual and auditory learners in the class.

Get The Educational Tools You Need

grating glasses

At Rainbow Symphony, we have a number of educational products designed to make the study of light fun and accessible for students of every level of learning. Whether you need a bulk order of diffraction grating glasses to teach diffraction of light, eclipse viewers and shades to keep your kids protected as they learn about the cosmos, or UV detection beads to help your students see the real power of those invisible UV rays, we’ve got you covered!

If you need assistance in choosing the right educational tool for your class, simply shoot us a message today at 818-708-8400, or by email at rainbowsymphony@rainbowsymphony.com.

How Do Diffraction Glasses Work?

Diffraction 3d Glasses

The principle of light diffraction dates back to the experiments of Sir Isaac Newton, who observed that when a light source passed through a prism, it would split into its spectrum of seven distinct colors. The term diffraction itself was coined by Francesco Maria Grimaldi, an Italian scientist and contemporary of Newton’s, who also studied the behavior of light. Theirs is the same colorful spectrum that we still see today in everything from rainbows in the sky to light bouncing off of the back of a DVD!

Today, diffraction glasses, also known as fireworks glasses, are a popular way to experience the spectacular properties of light and color. Whether you want to enhance your enjoyment of a music festival, seeking a unique party favor to hand out to your guests, or simply seeking a way to deepen your understanding of light, diffraction glasses are a fun and affordable option.

But you may be wondering, how do diffraction glasses work? Read on to learn a little bit about the science behind our diffraction glasses!

Diffraction Defined

Let’s get technical for a moment and define the term diffraction as it applies to light and physics. Diffraction is the process by which a beam of light is spread out after passing through a narrow opening or across a grating. While diffraction glasses specifically relate to the diffraction of light, diffraction could also apply to water waves, radio waves, or sound waves. Have you ever observed the ripples of water in a pond move around a stationary rock? Those waves are being diffracted. Cool, right?

How Diffraction Glasses Work

Diffraction glasses, like those we design at Rainbow Symphony, work on this ancient principle of physics. First, we produce a high-quality, holographic lens that contains thousands of tiny lines. The surface of these lenses serves as our “grating” upon which the light will diffract.

Diffraction Glasses To Expreience Fireworks

But the real secret to how diffraction glasses work? Light, of course! When you wear the glasses and direct them towards a light source––this could be the light show of a concert or the lamps in your living room––the beam of light strikes the holographic surface of the lens (our “grating”) and breaks up into its spectrum. What you see on the other side (behind the lens) is the dazzling array of sparkling colors, shapes, lines, and dots. As you move your head, the light dances across the surfaces of the lens for a truly spectacular experience!

You can experiment with different colored lights while wearing your diffraction glasses. A common white light source breaks up into a standard rainbow spectrum of colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). However, if you look at a red light source, you will see the red components of the light spectrum!

Experience Diffraction Glasses for Yourself

Now that you know a bit more about how diffraction glasses work and the amazing, yet simple, science behind them, it’s time to get yourself a pair! At Rainbow Symphony, we offer a wide selection of high-quality but affordable diffraction glasses, including plastic diffraction glasses, our LaserSpex™ Plastic Rainbow Fireworks Glasses® designed specifically for light shows, a variety of paper diffraction glasses perfect for any occasion, and so much more!

Plus, we offer customized diffraction glasses so you can add your brand, logo, or other personalized touches for your next event! Simply contact our support team at 1-800-821-5122 or send us a message via our online contact form to learn more.

How Many Different Types of Eclipses Are There?

blood moon

Civilizations have observed celestial events for thousands of years. Whether performing astronomical research or simply enjoying the wonders of nature as they appear in outer space, people have always been captivated by the mysterious beauty of events that transpire above the earth’s atmosphere. For many, an eclipse is the most captivating event of all.

Eclipses have occurred since the dawn of time, and today we have the technology to answer an important question: How many different types of eclipses are there? The answer is seven.

1. Total Solar Eclipse

This type of eclipse occurs when the central, darkest part of the moon’s shadow, known as the “umbra”, fully occludes the view of the sun, with the sun’s radiance vaguely outlining the circular shadow. The longest solar eclipse on record lasted an amazing seven minutes and 25 seconds. According to astronomers, if the record is broken, it will not happen until after 8,000 AD!

If you’re planning to watch the next total solar eclipse, make sure you have “CE” certified solar eclipse viewers on hand!

partial solar eclipse

2. Partial Solar Eclipse

This eclipse takes place when moon’s “penumbra” — a lighter portion of its shadow that is outside of the umbra — partially occludes the view of the sun. The sun may be shaped like a crescent or appear as if a small piece is missing. Unlike total eclipses, partial eclipses can make the sun look different each time, and they happen more often than total solar eclipses.

3. Annular Solar Eclipse

This type of eclipse happens when the moon’s “antumbra” — a part of its shadow that is lighter than the umbra but darker than the penumbra — fully occludes the view of the sun. However, unlike with a total eclipse, the moon appears to have a distinct, circular periphery of radiant light. This creates the illusory effect of the moon appearing nearly as big as the sun.

4. Hybrid Solar Eclipse

In a hybrid solar eclipse, the curvature of the earth causes certain areas along the eclipse path to intersect the moon’s umbra and experience a total eclipse, while areas on the path that intersect the antumbra experience an annular eclipse. Hybrid solar eclipses require a highly precise alignment between earth and moon. They occur about once every decade.

5. Total Lunar Eclipse

A total lunar eclipse results from the earth’s umbra fully covering the surface of the moon. Because the moon is illuminated only by light that refracts from the earth’s atmosphere, it appears darker than normal, often having a reddish or copper-like color. This type of moon is frequently called a “blood moon” (pictured above) and provides a distinctive view of the moon’s topography.

partial lunar eclipse

6. Partial Lunar Eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse transpires when sun, earth, and moon share a slightly imperfect alignment that causes a portion of the moon to be covered by the earth’s umbra, while the rest of the moon is covered by the earth’s penumbra. When a lunar eclipse happens, there is a 30% chance that it will be a partial eclipse, compared to a 35% chance for a total eclipse.

7. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

This type of eclipse occurs when the earth’s penumbra covers the moon, making the moon appear darker. However, because the moon’s penumbra is significantly lighter than its umbra, some penumbral lunar eclipses are easy to overlook with the naked eye. Astronomers estimate that penumbral lunar eclipses happen between two and four times each year.

Regardless of how many different types of eclipses there are, you’ll want to make sure you experience them safely. At Rainbow Symphony, all of our solar eclipse glasses are "CE" Certified and meet the transmission requirements of scale 12-16 of EN 169/1992 for absolutely safe direct solar viewing.

Browse our entire selection of eclipse shades, filters, and other products and place your order today so you’re ready for the next eclipse near you!

How to Apply Decorative Window Film

Decorative Window Film

When you’re looking for a unique way to add some incredible color to a room, our decorative window film featuring our holographic diffraction pattern is the perfect solution. When placed in a room that gets direct sunlight, the interplay between the light and pattern will cast a dazzling array of rainbows across any space. The shapes and colors will change along with the movement of the sun throughout the day––which means there’s never have a dull moment when after you install our rainbow window films.

Below, we’ve outlined an easy process for how to apply our decorative window film to your room of choice. Read on and let us know if you have any questions!

What You’ll Need

So, how do you apply our decorative window film? For starters, you’ll need a couple of simple household items, including:

  • Paper towels
  • A spray bottle containing a solution of tap water and a drop of dish soap
  • A squeegee
  • A pair of scissors (optional)
  • Your Rainbow Symphony decorative window film

Step 1:

Choose a window that receives direct sunlight; the effect of the film will not be as spectacular if the window is shielded from the sun. If necessary, use a pair of standard household scissors to cut the film to fit your window of choice.

Step 2:

Wet the window with the soapy water mixture. Clean the window with the paper towels to remove any spots or smudges. Then, wet the window with the soapy water mixture again.

Step 3:

This step is optional, but totally recommended! If you have a desired shape and size, use the scissors to carefully cut the film while the liner is still on the sheet to whatever shape you’d like.

Step 4:

Partially peel the backing off of your decorative window film and place it on the desired section of the window.

Step 5:

Once you have the first section of the film where you want it, use your squeegee to seal the film to the window pane. Work from top to bottom, applying medium pressure to remove any air bubbles.

Step 6:

After you’ve applied the entire piece of film, squeegee the entire surface again in all directions to remove any remaining air bubbles and enhance the seal. Push the air bubbles towards the closest edge; the shorter the distance they need to travel, the better!

Step 7:

Wipe away any excess water––and you’re done! Now you can step back and enjoy the dazzling rainbow display.

Explore Our Decorative Film Collection

Now that you know how to apply your decorative window film, it’s time to make your selection if you haven’t already! At Rainbow Symphony, each of our decorative window films offers a different pattern that will splash gorgeous colors and shapes across your room. Choose from our Radial Axion pattern, Ambrosia pattern, Cracked Ice pattern, or Spectra Star pattern. No matter which one you pick, you can’t go wrong!