How to make two simple solar eclipse viewers at home

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Friday, August 4, 2017
Two simple homemade solar viewers
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These solar viewers can be made with just a few household items.

A solar eclipse is a rare weather phenomenon that is a sight to behold, but viewing an eclipse can be harmful to your eyes if the right precautions are not taken.

Looking directly at the sun can cause permanent damage to your eyes. Special-purpose solar filters are necessary when looking at the sun, including during a partial eclipse. Click here to see which solar filters NASA recommends.

Another method to view the sun safely is by using a pinhole projector. Instead of looking directly at the sun, a pinhole projector casts a shadow and shows an image of the sun through a small hole.

Here are two simple methods of creating a pinhole projector using regular household objects.

Two sheets of paper method


- Two index cards (or any two sheets of paper)

- Thumbtack or safety pin


1. Poke a hole in the middle of one of the sheets of paper with a thumbtack or safety pin.

Go outside and hold the sheet of paper with the hole in it towards to sun. Place the second sheet of paper under the shadow of the first piece of paper.

You will be able to view the sun on the the second sheet of paper. Move the second sheet of paper closer or further from the first sheet to focus image.

Cereal box method


- Cereal box

- Aluminum foil

- Sheet of white paper

- Thumbtack or safety pin

- Tape

- Scissors


1. Trace the bottom of the cereal box on the sheet of paper and cut out the rectangle.

2. Tape the white paper on the inside bottom of the cereal box.

3. Cut about 1.5 inches off the sides of the top of the cereal box.

4. Cut a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to cover one of the rectangular holes in the top of the cereal box. Tape the foil over the hole.

5. Poke a hole in the middle of the foil.

Go outside and aim the top of the cereal box towards the sun. View the sun/eclipse through the second hole in the top not covered by the foil.