It’s Time for the Eclipse, and I Don’t Have Eclipse Glasses. What Can I Do?

No need to worry.  There are several safe, simple ways to view the progress of the eclipse:

  1. A pinhole projector can be as simple as an index card with a tiny hole.  A thumb tack or a push pin can make a good hole of the proper size.  ‘To use, hold the card so that it faces the Sun, and place a second index card in the shadow of the first card.   Adjust the spacing of the cards until a good image of the Sun is visible.
  2. Use a mirror to project Sunlight onto a wall.  I just heard about this technique, and haven’t had a chance to try it out.  Use a circular mirror, or a mirror masked by cardboard with a circular hole.  Hold the mirror so that it casts reflected sunlight onto a smooth white or gray wall, or some similar surface.  If all goes well, the patch of reflected light will have the same shape as the eclipsed Sun.  Caution:  Don’t look directly into the mirror to see the Sun.  This is just as destructive as looking directly at the Sun.  If you fasten the mirror to any kind of fixture, stay with it, so that other people don’t misuse it.
  3. Here’s an easy one: Find a tree or bush with leaves and look at the shadow that it casts.  Wherever the shadow has a small sunny spot, you should be able to see the shape of the eclipsed Sun.  This same effect can be produced by a piece of cardboard with a hole, or even with your hands and fingers.

Enjoy the eclipse, wherever you are!

lookin’ up,

John

 

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