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Solar Eclipse view
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Witness an Amazing Eclipse on August 21

If you’re in the United States this August, you’ll have an opportunity to see something wonderful – a solar eclipse! And, if you’re in the path of totality, you’ll be able to see the entire spectacle.  Even if you’re nearby, you still may be able to see this amazing natural phenomenon.

The path of totality – or, the areas where the Moon will completely obscure the Sun – is shown below.  If you’re in one of the areas along the path, you’ll witness when the sky goes dark and even the birds and animals become quiet.

While solar eclipses are amazing, looking directly at the sun can damage your eyes and even cause blindness. Don’t look directly at the sun without certified protective eyewear! Only special, certified solar filter glasses that block out the majority of the Sun’s light are safe to view the eclipse directly – make sure that if you are shopping for these types of glasses, to make sure they are sold by a reputable vendor – a list can be found here. One excellent resource for solar eclipse safety is here: https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/safe-viewing

NASA Eclipse map

Protect Your Eyes!

Never look directly at the Sun, eclipsed or otherwise, without protective eyewear. The Sun’s UV radiation can burn the retinas in your eyes leading to permanent damage or even blindness. Don’t do it!

The best way to safely watch a total solar eclipse is to wear protective eclipse glasses or to project an image of the eclipsed Sun using a pinhole projector. We’ll walk you through the options for making a pinhole projector – it’s not hard at all!

 

How to Make a Pinhole Projector

You don’t need fancy glasses or equipment to watch one of the sky’s most awesome shows: a solar eclipse. With just a few simple supplies, you can make a pinhole camera that lets you watch a solar eclipse safely and easily from anywhere.

Before you get started, remember: You should never look at the sun directly without equipment that’s specifically designed for looking at the sun. Even using binoculars or a telescope, you could severely damage your eyes or even go blind! Solar eclipses themselves are safe. But looking at anything as bright as the sun is NOT safe without proper protection. And no, sunglasses do NOT count.

Stay safe and still enjoy the sun’s stellar shows by creating your very own pinhole camera. It’s easy! Here’s how:

Materials

  • 2 pieces of white card stock
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tape
  • Pin or paper clip

Instructions

1. Cut a square hole into the middle of one of your pieces of card stock.

2. Tape a piece of aluminum foil over the hole.

3. Use your pin or paper clip to poke a small hole in the aluminum foil.

4. Try it out!

Place your second piece of card stock on the ground and hold the piece with aluminum foil above it (foil facing up). Stand with the sun behind you and view the projected image on the card stock below! The farther away you hold your camera, the bigger your projected image will be.

To make your projection a bit more defined, try putting the bottom piece of card stock in a shadowed area while you hold the other piece in the sunlight.

4. Get creative.

For extra fun, try poking multiple holes in your foil, making shapes, patterns and other designs. Each hole you create will turn into its own projection of the eclipse, making for some neat effects. Grab a helper to take photos of your designs for a stellar art project you can enjoy even after the eclipse has ended.

Are you going to watch the solar eclipse? Let us know in the comments, and tag your pinhole projector photos with #littlepassports to share with us!

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