LAST MINUTE DIY Pinhole Viewer for Eclipse (4 steps)

Nobody invited you to their Great American Eclipse 2017 party? This is the first you’ve heard of it? Maybe you just forgot to prepare, with all that procrastination you’ve had to do since the last total eclipse in 1979. Don’t worry! You still have time. You can impress your friends and delight your coworkers with this

Step 1: Get a hand

Maybe you have one of these lying around the house, or you can borrow one from a friend. Pretty much any model will do, so don’t waste time being too picky.

Step 2: Make hand into pinhole shape

OK here’s the tricky part. Hopefully you’ve managed to keep track of that hand since step 1. Make a pinhole with it. Anticipate. The Great Eclipse is going to be portenting real epic-like any minute now.

Step 3: Arrange the pinhole in between the sun and a flat, light surface.

Alright here’s the second tricky part. You’ll want to really get this dialed in before the eclipse starts. Put the hand in between the sun and a viewing surface, I used a sheet of paper. Make sure the hand is still in a pinhole shape. Change the angle and position of the hand until an image of the sun forms on the paper, it might take a few minutes to get everything lined up. The farther the pinhole is from the surface the larger the projected image but the more difficult it is to maintain alignment, and eventually the image is too dim to compete with ambient scattered light. Eclipses happen pretty often if you’re willing to travel, but the next one crossing the lower 48 won’t happen until 2024.

Step 4: Realize you are not in the continental United States right now.