How to Make a Solar Eclipse Viewer at Home in Under 5 Minutes?

Excited about the solar eclipse but don’t have the special glasses — they’re all sold out or you just can’t get one? No worries! 

In under 5 minutes, using stuff you probably have at home, you can make your own solar eclipse viewer – a pinhole projector!

Ready for some fun? Let’s start!

What You Need?

  • A Shoebox or a Cereal Box: This will be the body of your viewer.
  • Aluminum Foil: You can find some in your kitchen.
  • White Paper, Scissors, a Pen, a Tape or Glue: Just the basic stationery items.
  • A Pin or a Needle: Small but important, for making a tiny hole.

Once you have all these items, you’re ready to go! A little cutting here, a little sticking there, and you’ll be all set to watch the eclipse safely!

Follow this step-by-step guide to assemble your viewer! (Also, check out the image below for a visual aid.)

Step 1: Trace a Rectangle 

Begin by keeping your empty cereal box upright or vertically on a white piece of paper

Trace a rectangle around it. This outline will guide your scissors in the next step.

Step 2: Cut the Rectangle Out

Now, take scissors and cut out the rectangle you drew.

This piece of paper will be like a movie screen for the sun and moon show!

Step 3: Tape the Paper Inside the Cereal Box

Take that rectangle and put it at the bottom of the box. Secure it with tape, ensuring it’s snug and stable. 

Step 4: Cut Two Square Holes and Secure the Top

Now, close the top of the cereal box.

Cut a square hole on the left and right sides of the box, like windows! 

For example, you can make each hole about the size of a cookie – big enough to peek through!

Tape the middle of the top so the box stays nice and strong.

Step 5: Cover One Hole with Aluminum Foil

Cover one of the holes you’ve just cut with aluminum foil. 

Secure it well – this metallic surface is about to play a pivotal role in projecting the solar magic inside your box.

Step 6: Punch a Pinhole in the Foil

Take a pin or needle and make a small hole in the middle of the foil.

This little hole will let light in so you can see the sun and moon dance!

Precision is key – a clean, small pinhole makes for a clear, sharp projection!

And there you have it! You turned a cereal box into a cool solar eclipse viewer!

Image Attribution: These still frames are clipped from a video by NASA

How to Use This DIY Eclipse Viewer?

Face Away from the Sun

Stand with your back to the sun. It might sound funny, but trust me, this is how the magic unfolds! 

You’ll not be looking directly at the sun; instead, your crafted viewer will capture the light and project the celestial show for you. 

Align the Pinhole with the Sun

Angle your box and point the pinhole at the sun. You’ll feel the warmth and see the light streaming in.

View the Solar Eclipse: How to Do That Safely?

Look Through the Viewing Hole

Now, peek through the view-finder (the hole/side  not covered with aluminum foil)

You’ll see the moon moving over the sun! It might be a small view, but it’s really cool!

Move the Box for a Clearer View

If the picture isn’t clear, that’s okay! 

Move the box a little bit until the sun and moon look just right. It’s like finding the best spot to watch a show!

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