Pinhole projector offers safe way to view total solar eclipse

Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 19:40:05-04

If you're planning on watching the eclipse from home or are traveling to a better location and you don't have eclipse glasses, experts say there's another way to safely view the once-in-a-lifetime event. 

With solar eclipse glasses flying off the shelves, folks without them are wondering how they'll safely view the eclipse. 

"Use a pinhole projector," said Katie Devine, Associate Professor of Physics at the College of Idaho. "You can make something out of everyday, common household items and watch the sun safely with your family." 

Using items such as a cereal box, paper and aluminum foil, you can easily and quickly make one at home. 

The do-it-yourself device projects the shadow of the moon, blocking out the sun, into a cardboard box. Once your device is made, point it toward the sun and look into the box to see the projected shadow of the eclipse. 

"The one thing you should never do with a pinhole projector is look through the hole at the sun," Devine said. "So, with small children, you punch a hole and tell them it's a viewer, and it's tempting for them to look through at the sun -- and you should never do that. The nice thing with the cereal box is that, with this design, it's impossible to look through the hole at the sun." 

For step-by-step directions on how to make your own pinhole projector, click here.

For eclipse-related tips for families from the Idaho State Department of Education, click here.