Solar hits are pretty straight-forward... you use a magnifying glass to focus sunlight into a point which is hot enough to cause marijuana to burn, in lieu of actually using a flame. Now if you've never tried this before, I'm sure the first thought to run across your mind is (understandably), "Why on Earth would I not just pull the trusty Bic out of my pocket and use that?"
I heard of this slightly ludicrous method of smoking probably not long after I started getting stoned, and I didn't try it until four years after that, probably for just that reason. "That seems weird, why should I bother?" Why should you bother? Because it's unbelievably better--in a number of ways--than smoking with a lighter.
TASTE: The most immediate thing you find from solar hitting is that there is an extremely noticeable difference in taste versus using a lighter. It's like you can actually taste the marijuana and its delicious sweet essential oils, or something (hint: it is because you can.) And that disappointing "cashed bowl" taste--is curiously absent. I honestly never thought that using a butane lighter imparted any foreign tastes to weed, and that people who claimed it did were just imagining things, but uh... then I tried -not- using one. And huh, I'll be damned.
STONE: Maybe the second thing you pick up on after smoking a solar bowl is that you're fucking stoned. Like more than normal, stoned. Possibly this could be attributed to placebo, or simply a change in your usual set/setting of smoking, but I believe that, basically, solar hitting is more efficient than using a flame to torch your weed. The point of light that burns the weed is relatively small compared to an inch-long lighter flame, which basically means you get a lot more green hits from the magnifying glass. It's like being able to corner the bowl every time you hit it, rather than two or three times with a lighter. And once you're a pro at using a magnifying glass, you can heat your marijuana without actually burning it (Sound familiar? see, vaporization), and that... is awesome.
COST: Admittedly, this is a slightly weaker reason than the above two (and those are the two real reasons why I bother), but it's worth mentioning. A magnifying glass can be purchased for less than $5 at your local Temple of Low Prices (hint: look near the pharmacy, with the reading glasses). It never runs out of fluid either, at least, as long as the Sun is still fusing hydrogen in its core. I'm told we have about 5 billion years left on that... so um just don't lose it and it's a one-time investment. I will admit that the Bic lighter is possibly the most incredible and useful item that a person can purchase for one dollar, and should always be kept on hand for cloudy days. And nighttime.
COOL FACTOR: Does any other method of getting stoned give you a legitimate excuse to wear shades? Ok, seriously though, allow me to get slightly technical for a moment. Let's examine how a solar hit actually works. A magnifying glass is (generally) a double-convex lens, which have the property of bending light such things located on the other side of the lens are magnified. However, past the focal point of the lens, a magnifying glass actually flips objects upside-down and causes them to appear smaller. At 93,000,000 miles away, the Sun is a greater distance from the lens than its focal length, so a magnifying glass projects a small, inverted image of the Sun when aligned properly, and this is what is responsible for all the awesome.
Think about that for a moment. A massive ball of gas 93 freaking million miles away in outer space is so awesome that the Earth can support life, is beautiful, well-lit and warm, and it also happens to produce enough energy that a tiny few-inch-in-diameter lens can gather enough light to catch on fire the finest plant to grow on Earth--well hey--coincidentally also because of the Sun. Yeah. Wanna help me start a new church?
Your goal is to create a small, focused point of light where you want to burn. Finding the "sweet spot" will probably take a little experimentation, but once you're familiar with the fundamentals, it's pretty easy. (heh.) Possibly the most important thing to understand is that you want the light to travel directly through the lens in a straight line--not at an angle incident to the magnifying glass. What this means is that if the Sun is directly overhead, you would hold the lens parallel to the ground and adjust its vertical distance from the object you're trying to burn to get a focused point. If the Sun is not directly overhead, you should tilt the lens to an angle such that a ray of light would be perpendicular to the lens' surface, traveling straight through it. It's actually not as difficult as I'm making it seem. I assure you, even very stoned people can hack it.
The magnification strength of the lens makes largely no difference. A 30x lens is not "better" than a 5x lens for solar hitting and probably only costs more. I'm no expert on optics, but as far as I can tell, higher strength changes the focal length (i.e., how far away from your bowl you need to hold the magnifying glass). On the other hand, the larger the lens, the easier it will be to smoke with. A larger lens collects more sunlight to focus into a concentrated point, which will means it does not need light to be as bright as is necessary with a smaller lens. I have a 5x 3-inch diameter lens and it works like a champ. It takes about two seconds for me to focus the sunlight enough to get a hit. I've tried solar hits with success between roughly 11am and 5pm, and I don't even live in a particularly sunny area of the world and haven't yet tried outside of that time range.
Really--I'm not making this stuff up. If you enjoy smoking weed, trying this is really, actually worth it. Man.
TLDR: Smoke grass with a magnifying glass.
- Tastes good.
- Gets you, like, stoned.
- Highly enjoyable way to smoke.
- Good reason to go outside.