How to view the solar eclipse without glasses

Abigail Beall

On Monday, August 21, the moon will pass in front of the sun treating everyone in North America to a total solar eclipse, while parts of South America, Africa and Europe will be able to see at least a partial eclipse.

Of course, we all know you should never look directly at the sun. But if you haven’t got any solar eclipse goggles, and don’t want to buy any, don’t fear.

You can make a pinhole box to view the eclipse safely out of a few bits you will probably already have in your kitchen.

Abigail Beall

You will need

Cardboard box (the longer the better)
Scissors
A sheet of A4 paper
Tin foil
A pen
A knitting needle or other semi-sharp object

How to make the viewer

Start by tracing around the bottom of the cereal box on the piece of paper, and cut this rectangle out.

Abigail Beall

Abigail Beall

Slide the rectangle into the bottom of the cereal box, using tape to keep it there if it doesn’t stay. I made mine slightly too big so it stayed in the bottom quite nicely.

Abigail Beall

Then, cut two holes out of either side of the box.

Abigail Beall

Stick some tin foil over one of these and make a little hole in the middle of this with your pen or a needle.

Then you are done! Stand with your back to the sun, allowing its light to shine through the hole in the tin foil, and peer through the other hole in the box.

Abigail Beall

The hole in the foil acts like the lens of a camera, allowing a little bit of light through. The white paper will reflect the light back into your eye, when you view using the other hole.

Practice by looking at the moon or another light source through the pinhole viewer before Monday, to make sure it works. If you get things setup just right, you should be able to see not only the eclipse but also an image of any clouds surrounding the sun. Basically, anything bright will show up through the pinhole viewer.

In the UK, Monday’s eclipse will last around 40 minutes, with the midpoint occurring at various times across the country. For example, in Edinburgh the peak of the eclipse will be at 19:58 BST whereas for those in Cardiff the peak will occur at 20:05 BST.

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