Construct Your Own Eclipse Viewer
Learn how to make your own simple eclipse viewer.
3–5, 6–8, 9–12
To construct your viewer, you will need:
- A white cardboard box (or at least white inside), shoebox-size or larger
- 10 cm (~4 inch) square piece of aluminum foil
- Utility knife
- Awl or other pointed tool
Note: This eclipse viewer should be constructed only with adult supervision!
Instructions for Building Your Eclipse Viewer:
Step 1: Measure and draw a 2.5 cm (~1 inch) square, centered at one end of the cardboard box; then measure and draw a 2.5 x 10 cm (~1 x 4 inch) rectangle toward the rear top of the box. Cut (or have an adult cut) along the lines to make the opening (make sure you can see the rear inside of the box when done).
Step 2: Poke a hole in the center of the aluminum foil (it should be a smooth puncture no larger than the diameter of the awl or other pointed tool).
Step 3: Tape the piece of aluminum foil securely over the smaller front opening.
(To see a diagram of how the eclipse viewer should look when completed, view the Box Pinhole Projector model.)
Using Your Eclipse Viewer:
- Point the front of the viewer (with the pinhole) at the sun, without looking at the sun yourself, until you can view an image of the sun through the cut-out rectangle at the rear of the viewer (the image will appear upside-down on the rear-inside white surface).
- The image in your viewer should be sharp; if it is out of focus, you have made the pinhole too large. Re-do Step 2 above, keeping the pinhole no larger than a couple centimeters in diameter and with smooth edges.
- You may look at the image of the sun inside the viewer for as long as you wish, but under no circumstances should you ever look directly at the sun at any time, eclipse or no eclipse!