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Can’t Find Eclipse Glasses? Here’s What to Do.

Reliable paper-framed glasses are by far the most popular option for safely watching the total solar eclipse on Monday. But they’ve gotten more difficult to find in some places ahead of the event.

If you’ve checked everywhere — your local planetarium, public library and even online — fear not: There is still a way to watch the eclipse safely, using items around the house. Here are a few options.

Use your hands

Palms up, position one hand over the other at a 90-degree angle. Open your fingers slightly in a waffle pattern, and allow sunlight to stream through the spaces onto the ground, or another surface. During the eclipse, you will see a projection of the moon obscuring the surface of the sun.

This method works with anything with holes, such as a straw hat, a strainer, a cheese grater or even a perforated spoon. You will also notice this effect when light from the partially eclipsed sun streams through leaves on a tree.

Set up a cardstock screen

For this option, you need a couple of white index cards or two sheets of cardstock paper. First, punch a small hole in the middle of one of the cards using a thumbtack or a pin.

Then, facing away from the sun, allow light to stream through this pinhole. Position the second card underneath to function as a screen. Adjust the spacing between the two cards to make the projection of the sun larger or smaller.

A pinhole box for an annular solar eclipse in Gandhinagar, India, in 2020. The larger the box, the larger the image that will be projected.Credit…Sam Panthaky/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Make a box projector

If you’re up for a bit of crafting, you can make a more sophisticated pinhole projector. Start with a cardboard box — empty cereal boxes are often used, but you can use a larger box, too. You’ll also need scissors, white paper, tape, aluminum foil and a pin or thumbtack.

Cut the piece of paper to fit the inside bottom of the cardboard box to act as a screen. Use tape to hold it in place.

On the top of the box, cut two rectangular holes on either side. (The middle should be left intact — you can use tape to secure this if needed.)

Tape a piece of aluminum foil over one of the rectangular cutouts. Punch a tiny hole in the middle of the foil with the tack or pin. The other cutout will serve as a view hole.

With your back to the sun, position the foil side of the box over your shoulder, letting light stream through the pinhole. An image of the sun will project onto the screen at the bottom of the box, which you can see through the view hole. A bigger box will create a bigger image.

Enjoy the show through any of these makeshift pinholes. And remember, during totality, you can view the sun directly with your naked eye. But you should stop looking at the sun as soon as it reappears.

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