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How to Watch an Eclipse Safely with a Homemade Pinhole Camera

In Health and Beauty, Information on June 9, 2012 at 5:38 am

On average there are two solar eclipses a year, but watching them can be dangerous. So what’s the best way to view them? Presentation Solutions has some suggestions to help safely enjoy these celestial events.

First, what is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and earth. If the moon completely obscures the sun, it’s a full eclipse of the sun. If the sun is only partially covered then it’s considered a partial eclipse of the sun.

However majestic the view is, it’s very important not to stare directly into the sun because it will cause retinal damage. Presentation Solutions suggests that readers enjoy this event through a pinhole camera.

Pinhole cameras can be purchased for between one hundred and four hundred dollars in stores or online, but it’s also possible to make a pinhole viewer very inexpensively.  The only things that are required are a long box or tube, tape, aluminum foil, a pin and white paper.

Using a long box is important, because the longer the box is, the larger the pinhole image will be. If you have a box that is five-feet long (which would be about two triangular UPS shipping boxes taped together) the image will be .56 inches.

The first thing to do to make a pinhole viewer is to combine two UPS boxes together with tape. Then cut a hole in the center of the box and cover it with aluminum foil.  Use a pin to poke a small hole in the center of the foil. Cut a viewing hole in the side of the box. Put the paper inside the box near the viewing hole. Then point the pinhole viewer (pinhole up) toward the sun so that it reflects the eclipse on the paper.

Voila! You have created a pinhole viewer to watch the eclipse safely, while still enjoying the amazing sight of the moon blocking the sun.

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