Watching a Solar Eclipse, Part 2

Last month we talked about the impending solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.  This month we will talk about ways to safely view the eclipse without hurting the eye or retina.

Only a small sliver of the US will experience a total solar eclipse-the sun's complete occlusion by the moon-so the vast majority of viewers will need special solar filters or eclipse glasses to view the partial eclipse.  Solar filters or eclipse glasses are a must as along as the sun's face is visible.  An indirect way to view the eclipse is with a pinhole projector.

To make a pinhole "camera":

Materials:

  • *2 pieces of white card stock
  • *aluminum foil
  • *Tape
  • *pin or paper clip

Directions:

  1. Cut a square hole into the middle of one of the pieces of card stock
  2. Tape aluminum foil over the hole.
  3. Poke a hole in the foil.
  4. Place the second piece of card stock on the ground in a shadowed area.  Stand with the sun BEHIND you and hold the card stock with the aluminum foil (foil facing up) above it.  View the projected image on the card stock below.  The farther away you hold the pinhole card the bigger the projected image will be (jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn).

An eclipse is a cosmic solar billiard shot- the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up to reveal the Sun's atmosphere; it's Corona.  Eclipses on Earth occur only because of an amazing celestial coincidence.  For more information visit greatamericaneclipse.com.