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2017 total eclipse astronomer hotline 505.463.8360

How to Safely Watch the Eclipse
if You Don't Have Eclipse Glasses

pinhole projector

View of an eclipsed Sun through a cereal box pinhole projector.

Pinhole projectors and other projection techniques are a safe, indirect viewing technique for observing an image of the Sun.

Below are two methods to view the solar eclipse using DIY projection techniques.

Remember never to look directly at the Sun, especially when using binoculars or a telescope, as doing so can cause permanent eye damage.

How to Make a Pinhole Projector with a Cereal Box:

This method is perfect if you’re planning to view the eclipse by yourself. The items you will need for this are:

Method:

  1. First, stand an empty cereal box on the piece of paper and with the pencil trace around the box so that the paper can fit along the bottom of the box.
  2. Second, take the paper cutout and tape it on the inside of the box and seal the top.
  3. Third, cut a rectangular hole on the left and right of the top of the box, then cut a piece of aluminum foil to cover the left hole and tape it in place. It will look like this:

    pinhole projector
  4. Fourth, once you’ve taped the foil in place, then take a push-pin and poke a pinhole in the center of the foil.
  5. Fifth, with the Sun behind you, look into the open right hole and see a projection of the eclipsed Sun on the paper inside the box.

How to View the Sun by Projection with Binoculars or a Telescope:

This second method is ideal if you’re planning to observe the eclipse with several people. You can use a telescope or binoculars to project the image of the Sun onto a flat surface for viewing.

The items you will need for this method are:

Never look into the telescope or binoculars! Doing so will yield immediate irreversible blindness.

Never look through binoculars or a telescope wearing eclipse glasses. The focused Sun will burn through your glasses and instantly blind you.

Only specialty solar binoculars or telescopes that are solar-only instruments with built-in filters designed to be looked through without any protection are safe to use for direct viewing.