Solar Eclipse Box

School has just started back up here, so the only thing I crafted last week was a solar eclipse viewer--a pin hole box. On solar eclipse day, it looked like the above photo for most of the morning. It rained almost 3 inches that day. We needed the rain, so it was hard to be upset about it, but we were supposed to get a 95% eclipse, so it was a bit of a bummer.

Right around the time the eclipse was supposed to be peaking, the sun started popping out here and there between the clouds. The photo above is from about 5 minutes before the sun hit 95% 90% plus :). Some folks even were able to see the crescent with the clouds as a filter. But I did notice, after the fact, that a solar flare in the photo down near the bottom shows the crescent quite clearly. It's amazing how much light comes off of such a tiny sliver of the sun.

So when it looked like I might be able to see the eclipse, I quickly whipped up a pin-hole viewer. I'm glad I did. It was really easy, and I was eventually able to see the crescent in the box. All you need is any cardboard box. Put a piece of white paper on one end (I just scotch taped a piece of copy paper in the box) then on the other end, cut a hole in one side to view from and a hole in the other side for your pinhole. You could, theoretically, just jab a pin through the box, but tinfoil works very easily and can be pierced with a paper clip or tooth pick too. Tape the tinfoil in place over one of the holes and leave the other one open. If you had any open flaps on the box, tape them all shut and that's it.

After taking my box outside, I added some foil over the corners near the paper and across the seam on the top to keep even more light out, but I could easily see a cloudy light blob in the box immediately, even with a little bit of light getting in the box. Stand with your back to the sun and tilt the box until you see a defined light. At first, I was getting the shape of the poked hole. If you tilt it, you'll eventually see the light from the sun.

Every time I saw the sun start to peak out, I ran out and looked, and eventually, towards the end of the eclipse, I finally saw the crescent.

Just for reference, this is what the sun normally looks like through the pinhole on a nice sunny day. Now that I know how to make one of these boxes, I can't wait for my next chance to view the solar eclipse--but who knows, maybe for the next one, I'll be able to track down a pair of the elusive eclipse glasses. :)


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