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DIY: Simple Pinhole Projector for Solar Eclipses

One of the easiest ways to safely watch a solar eclipse is to use 2 sheets of cardboard and make your own simple pinhole projector.

Illustration image

Eclipses can be projected using cardboard.

Solar eclipses can look spectacular, but the Sun’s UV radiation can cause permanent eye damage or even blindness. Make your own pinhole projector to view a solar eclipse.

©bigstockphoto.com/Solarseven

Project the Sun

Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection. You can seriously hurt your eyes and even go blind.

Projecting the Sun through a box projector, or using binoculars or telescope, or simply 2 pieces of card is a safe and easy way to view a solar eclipse.

DIY: Simple Card Projector

The simplest and quickest way to safely project the Sun is with a projector made from only 2 pieces of card or paper.

You Need:

  • 2 pieces of stiff white cardboard, e.g. 2 paper plates
  • alternatively, 2 sheets of plain white paper
  • a thumbtack, a sharp pin, or a needle

What to Do:

Diagram of a DIY pinhole projector.
The concept of a pinhole projector
Using 2 pieces of cardboard or paper you can project an image of the Sun that does not hurt your eyes.
©timeanddate.com
  1. To make a quick version of the pinhole projector, take a sheet of paper and make a tiny hole in the middle of it using a pin or a thumbtack. Make sure that the hole is round and smooth.
  2. With your back towards the Sun, hold 1 piece of paper above your shoulder allowing the Sun to shine on the paper.
  3. The 2nd sheet of paper will act as a screen. Hold it at a distance, and you will see an inverted image of the Sun projected on the paper screen through the pinhole.
  4. To make the image of the Sun larger, hold the screen paper further away from the paper with the pinhole.

A box projector works on the same principles, it requires a little more time and a few extra items to construct, but it is more sturdy.

Keep Safe!

  • Never look at the Sun directly without protective eye gear. Even sunglasses cannot protect your eyes from the damage the Sun's rays can do to them.
  • Always keep your back towards the Sun while looking at a pinhole projection.
  • Do not look at the Sun through the pinhole.

Topics: Astronomy, Eclipses, Sun

Next Total Solar Eclipse

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Total Solar Eclipse

Aug 21, 2017 at 15:46 UTCSee more


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Solar Eclipses

  1. Different Types of Eclipses
  2. What Are Solar Eclipses?
  3. How Often Do Solar Eclipses Occur?
  4. Total Solar Eclipses
  5. Partial Solar Eclipses
  6. Annular Solar Eclipses
  7. Solar Eclipses in History
  8. Solar Eclipse Myths
  9. Magnitude of Eclipses

Eclipses


Eclipse Lookup


Protect Your Eyes

  1. Never Look Directly at the Sun
  2. Simple Pinhole Projector
  3. Eclipse Projector in a Box
  4. Binoculars / Telescope Projector

Eclipses & Transits

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