DIY eclipse viewing tools (in 4 hours, scandie time)

Solar eclipse here in about 4 hours I just saw on the news.
Can anyone give me some DIY methods for safe viewing?

Googling offers the options of various less than readily available solutions such as welders glasses etc and really boring alternatives like projection viewing. What can I use from around the house to safely have a peep at this baby?

If I can’t find anything to use, can I sneak the tinyest of peeps, like micro-second long? I seem to remember having done so last time there was one with just regular (uv-screening) sunglasses, and have not suffered noticibly from it.

      • Got any flat-sided container that you can put water in with some blue food coloring? You can also get a spherical automotive rear-view mirror (the little ones that stick onto the regular outside rear-view mirrors) and stand on the shady side of a building, in the sun. Then tilt the spherical mirror towards the building, and you can see the eclips projected on the (shadowed) wall. [-you can see sunspots this way also]

Please do not look at the sun, your eyes are important to you!

But, if you have to - wear sunglasses and look through a regular music CD (or two).

Worked for me during the 1999 UK eclipse…

Get a big box. Paint the inside black, except for one end, which you paint white. Cut a small hole in the oopsite side from the white one, tape a piece of alumin foil over the hole and poke a small pinhole in it. Cut another hole in the bottom big enough for your head to fit through. Voila! A pinhole eclipse viewer

I have had good success viewing eclipses with just two sheets of paper. Poke a pin in one to make a small hole. Allow the light to pass through the whole and shine on the other piece of paper. An even poorer man’s version of QED’s pin hole viewer.

That micro-second of peeps will leave a lifetime of permanent injury, possibly slight to much worse. No eclipse is worth the effort. Sunglasses do not protect your eyes from damage. Neither does using a CD.

The pinhole box camera is one of my favorites. The key is to look at the light hitting the white screen and not the light coming through the pinhole.

See Viewing An Eclipse from the CSIRO (Australia), pay attention to the entire page, including the part that says …

"Some people use welding masks for viewing the Sun - shade number 14 welder’s masks or goggles are suitable. However, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) advises that there is no safe way of directly viewing an eclipse. The following are not suitable for looking at the Sun:

  • sunglasses
  • space blankets
  • CDs
  • Exposed colour film
  • Neutral density filters
  • Polarising filters
  • Smoked glass

“Also, you should not use solar viewing eyepieces in a telescope. The only safe filters for telescopes and binoculars are attached to the objective lens (the end pointed at the Sun), not the eyepiece.”

That’s one of the sites I read myself Duckster :slight_smile: It was very good.
Thanks for the advice all, might give the projection viewing a shot after all.

Course, at 5.30 am I am likely to sleep thru the whole thing :wink:

OK, agreed - using a CD or similar filter is a stupid thing to do.

Two further related questions though:

  1. Are disposable eclipse glasses any good - similar to red/green 3D glasses but they have an extremely dark filter to look through.

  2. What possible damage might your eyes suffer in normal daily activity - eg. a plane flies over head and I look up in the wrong direction and catch a glimpse of the sun for a fraction of a second.


Yeah-- like QED said, project it, pinhole camera obscura style. Anything else is dangerous and you won’t see what’s happening as clearly. For the last eclipse here I:
a)took a longish (3 foot) cardboard tube of the sort that posters come in.
b)Blocked both ends-- one with a sheet of tin-foil, the other with a flat white piece of cardboard (white side in)
c) Cut a hole in the side (couple of inches- enough to look in through at an angle but not let too much light through)
d) Put a pinhole in the middle of the tin foil
you then hold the thing so that the foil faces the sun, while you face away from the sun and look into the tube towards the projection on the white board-- it’s a bit tricky to aim the thing.

Last time we had one, I did the telescope version- i.e., use its shadow to aim it at the sun, then holding a piece of paper off the eyepiece as a projection screen.

For some reason, I was surprised how good the image was. Much coolness.