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Monday, July 28, 2008

How to: Make a Pinhole Eclipse Viewer


Want to see a solar eclispe without spending big bucks on special filters and such? You're probably thinking "Well, if I can't look at the eclipse, how do I see it?" The answer is simple: don't look at the eclipse, look at an image of it indirectly! Basically, this involves making a project of sorts and projecting the image of the eclipse onto a piece of cardboard, etc. in order to see the eclipse. This projector is also commonly known as a pinhole viewer. It is actually much easier than it seems, and can be done for no money at all and 5 minutes of free time. In the following article, we'll see how to make a simple pinhole viewer out of a cardboard box, some tin foil, and duct tape.

Start by finding yourself a box. Any old box will do, but a box that is longer than it is wide will work best.


I used a "Glad" trash bag box. I chose this box because it has a flap pre-cut to view the eclipse image. Leaving the flap still attached allows you to close it partially to darken the inside of the box for better contrast. Again, feel free to use any type of box. If you use a box that does not have a flap cut in it, you'll need to cut one out to see the image.


Unfold the top flaps and cut them off, leaving an open top.


Then cover the top with a square of tin foil that is slightly larger than the opening. Fold the sides down and tape them to the box. The important part here is getting the pinhole just right. Use a small pin or needle to poke a tiny hole in the foil. Make sure it is round, and don't make it too big. A larger pinhole will make the image blurry.


Now go outside and hold the pinhole viewer at arm's length, pointing the pinhole towards the sun. Keep your back to the sun, and look through the flap in the side of the box. You will see a bright dot in the center of the box. It will look similar to the simulated picture above. This is an image of the sun. Watch as it gets eclipsed by the moon! You now have a safe way of viewing an eclipse!

Clear skies!

SAFETY FIRST!

Although you will want to look at this eclipse, DO NOT LOOK AT A SOLAR ECLIPSE without proper safety equipment (such as this pinhole viewer). Doing so can cause permanent and irreversible eye damage and possibly blindness. Do not look through the pinhole viewer at the eclipse.

34 comments:

erika said...

cool!

Sean Welton said...

Hopefully I'll get some time before the Aug. 1 eclipse to make one of a little better quality.. ;)

Sean

July 29, 2008 at 7:22 AM

peech said...

THANKYOU FOR THT SAFETY PRECAUTION ON USING PINHOLE VIEWER :)

letmme give a try ;)

Het said...

Hey, thanks a lot dude!! good job!!

Anonymous said...

i made 1 and its a huge box and im selling it for 15 bux

Anonymous said...

does any 1 play ROBLOX.MY username is Jordan597

Anonymous said...

I think you can also view it with the floppy disk hole!!

Anonymous said...

its really coool!!
i ll definitely try !!!

Anonymous said...

I'll try!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is an awsome idea thank you for this information. I appericiate it thanks again!Bye Now

Anonymous said...

This is cool thanks for the safety Precusion c yah

Anonymous said...

perfect project for my class YES!!

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