TIME Science

How to Watch the Solar Eclipse Like a 1960s School Kid

You’ll need a sharp knife, a cardboard box and a crew cut

If you are one of the lucky few in a position to see Friday’s total solar eclipse—meaning you plan to be in the Faroe Islands or Norway’s Svalbard archipelago—you’d do well to take a tip from 1963’s fifth grade class of the Emerson School in Maywood, Illinois. Wielding cardboard boxes and knives that today would surely get a kid suspended, the kids demonstrated for LIFE’s readers how to safely look at an eclipse.

During the solar eclipse of 1960, hundreds of people had suffered permanent eye damage from looking directly at the sun. With help from the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness, Emerson students avoided the same fate by building Sunscopes, pinhole camera-like contraptions that indirectly project an image of the sun. The magazine offered instructions for those desiring to replicate the project at home:

To build your own, get a carton and cut a hole in one side, big enough to poke your head through. Paste white paper on the inside surface that you will be facing. Then punch a pinhole into the opposite side, high enough so that the little shaft of light will miss your head. For a sharper image you can make a better pinhole by cutting a one inch square hole in the carton, taping a piece of aluminum foil over this hole and then making the pinhole in the foil. Finally, tape the box shut and cover all light leaks with black tape.

A final word to the wise from LIFE: “Don’t forget to come out for fresh air.”

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME Environment

Britain’s Prince Charles Urges Action to Clean Up the World’s Oceans 

Britain's Prince Charles greets participants in a conference about the rule of law in the 21st century as he visits the National Archives in Washington
Jonathan Ernst—Reuters Prince Charles, center, greets participants in a conference about the rule of law in the 21st century titled "The Magna Carta of the Future" as he visits the National Archives in Washington, D.C., on March 18, 2015

The future monarch called ocean waste "one issue that we absolutely cannot ignore"

The U.K.’s Prince of Wales made an ardent speech on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., urging world governments to tackle the growing problem of oceanic pollution.

Prince Charles told the government officials, corporate executives and nonprofit leaders present that he was “horrified” to learn that up to 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s seas each year.

“One issue that we absolutely cannot ignore is that of the increasing quantity of plastic waste in the marine environment,” he said on the first day of his 20th official visit to the U.S., reports Agence France-Presse.

The 66-year-old heir to the British throne then described a harrowing image of seabirds being killed after mistaking plastic for food.

Accompanied by his wife Camilla, he also paid a visit to the Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King Memorial.

On Thursday, the Prince will meet with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office to discuss climate change, youth opportunities and other world affairs.

TIME astronomy

See the 9 Most Breathtaking Photos of the Northern Lights

A strong geomagnetic storm enhanced the aurora borealis on Tuesday night. Watch highlights from the natural light show here.

TIME space

Why the First-Ever Spacewalk Was Kept Secret

leonov cover
Cover Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS The Mar. 26, 1965, cover of TIME

It took place on March 18, 1965

When the first man walked in space, almost nobody knew that it was happening.

Cautious about counting their cosmonaut before he was through the hatch, Soviet space officials kept the plan quiet until after success had been achieved. Aleksei Leonov had already safely returned to the Voskhod II spacecraft — 50 years ago today, on March 18, 1965 — before the Soviet space agency announced that he had left the ship and released photos and video of what had happened. (These days, the English spelling of the cosmonaut’s first name is more frequently “Alexei”; in 1965, however, this magazine spelled it with a “ks.”) The shots showed Leonov emerging from the craft’s hatch before turning a few somersaults to begin his 20 minutes in the nothingness.

The news wasn’t a complete surprise for the rest of the world, however. As TIME explained, U.S. radars had been following the Voskhod II and noticed, via a change in reflectivity, that a hole had opened in the craft. They also knew that Soviet ships were big enough and sturdy enough to accommodate several cosmonauts and the necessary equipment and airlock for a spacewalk. (American spaceships of the time had to be lighter, as the U.S. had not developed booster technology to lift spacecraft as heavy as the Soviets’.) The exact technology used by Leonov remained a mystery for the time being — for example, was the cord that tethered him to the ship a mere leash, or an “umbilical” connection for air or communications?

Still, even the USSR’s Cold-War enemies couldn’t help but admire the feat. As TIME reported, the following week, it was a momentous occasion for all humankind:

Tied to a capsule by a 16-ft. tether, the first human satellite whirled through the vacuum of space at 18,000 m.p.h.

For ten minutes Soviet Cosmonaut Aleksei Arkhipovich Leonov drifted and spun through dreamlike gyrations while he followed the spaceship Voskhod II in its swift, elliptical path around the distant earth. Then, as easily and efficiently as he had emerged from his ship, Leonov climbed back inside. After 15 more orbits, he and his comrade, Colonel Pavel Ivanovich Belyayev, began the long flight home.

With that brief solo excursion into hostile emptiness last week, Lieut. Colonel Leonov took man’s first tentative step down the long and dangerous track that he must travel before he truly conquers space. Circling the earth in a sealed and well-provisioned capsule has been demonstrated to be well within human capabilities, but the moon will never be explored, to say nothing of Mars and the other planets, unless fragile men learn to function in the outside vacuum where no earthborn organisms are naturally equipped to live.

Leonov’s short “stroll” into personal orbit was one of the most remarkable achievements of the remarkable age of space.

Read the full story, here in the TIME Vault: Adventure into Emptiness

TIME space

The Other Giant Leap: What Happened to the First Man to Walk in Space

The spacesuit worn by Alexei Leonov on the first-ever spacewalk on March 18, 1965.
Marco Grob for TIME The spacesuit worn by Alexei Leonov on the first-ever spacewalk on March 18, 1965. The suit was photographed at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow on March 16, 2015.

Half a century ago, Russian legend Alexei Leonov took a perilous step into the void

No one knows what the first words of the almost-first man on the moon would have been. They surely would have been contemplated well in advance. No such landmark moment was left to chance back in the days of the great lunar steeplechase. And they would surely have been in Russian.

Half a century ago, when the space race was raging, no truly objective, truly honest observer gave the Americans much of a shot. The Soviet Union simply had too big a lead, having launched the first satellite (Sputnik), the first space dog (Laika), the first human being (Yuri Gagarin), the first woman (Valentina Tereshkova) and the first two- and three-person spacecraft. And 50 years ago this week, on March 18, 1965, they seemed to have sealed the deal, when Alexei Leonov, then just 30 years old, became the first human being to walk in space. Had things gone as planned, he would have been first on the moon too.

Marco Grob for TIMEAlexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space, photographed at the age of 80 in his office in Moscow on March 12, 2015.

Leonov, whom TIME photographer Marco Grob visited for a portrait session earlier this month, was the stuff of Soviet legend from the very beginning. Born in a coal-mining region in Siberia, he was the son of a woman who earned the country’s coveted Order of Maternal Glory, in recognition of what was seen as the greatest service a Soviet woman could perform for the Soviet state: having a great many babies—in her case nine. Leonov joined the Young Communist League, went on to flying school—where he made 115 parachute jumps—and was selected in the very first astronaut class.

There was little way to overstate the risks Leonov faced on his first mission, when he ventured outside his Voskhod spacecraft—a sturdy, tank-like vehicle that was the Soviet designers’ specialty—and drifted into space protected only by what amounted to a far-frailer fabric and rubber spacecraft. But TIME, in its March 26, 1965 cover story about the mission, tried. “As air escaped from the [spacecraft’s air lock], the vacuum of space reached into it like a monster’s claw,” TIME wrote. “Though it must have been rehearsed on earth over and over again, this was surely a moment of hideous crisis.”

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty ImagesThe astonaut Alexei Leonov floating in space during his first spacewalk on March 18, 1965.

Leonov, however, felt no such apprehension. Like so many astronauts and cosmonauts, he describes the spacewalk experience as one of great peace. “I don’t remember anything as well as I remember the sound—this remarkable silence,” he told Grob. “You can hear your heart beat and you can hear yourself breathe. Nothing else can accurately represent what it sounds like when a human being is in the middle of this abyss.”

Like other spacewalkers too, he powerfully recalls the view. “I close my eyes and I see the entire Black Sea, the Crimean Peninsula. This is not a map, it’s what I saw. I can take a pencil now and draw it, because I remembered it for the rest of my life. I looked up and there was the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Kaliningrad. I spent my adolescence at the Gulf of Kaliningrad. It was so unusual.”

Keystone-France/Getty ImagesAlexei Leonov, c. 1960s.

TIME’s coverage of the mission gave Leonov and the Soviets their deserved applause—acknowledging the triumph of the spacewalk, as well their program’s commanding advantage in booster power and technology, especially compared to NASA’s puny, two-man Gemini ship, which was set for its first launch just a few days after Leonov’s flight. The historic spacewalk and the bruising Voskhod, TIME conceded, hung over the Gemini hoopla like an “embarrassing shadow.”

But TIME’s story was grudging too—sniffing at the images the Soviets released of Leonov’s walk as “dim and probably purposely fuzzy,” while selecting perhaps the dimmest and fuzziest of all for the cover and passing over the far crisper ones. Soviet party chief Leonid Brezhnev “did his leaden best” in congratulating the crew, TIME wrote, and the country’s official announcement of the spacewalk was “as formal as if carved in stone.”

But never mind. There was no denying the huge step that a human being—even if it wasn’t an American human being—had just taken in space, and its impact has endured. “Now all astronauts who are preparing for [a mission] undergo full training in order to be able to work in open space,” says Leonov. “This isn’t even up for debate. If you can’t work, you don’t belong in the program.”

Leonov himself would get only one more flight. He was tapped by the Soviets to command the first circumlunar mission in 1969 and all but certainly would have been chosen for the first moon-landing mission that would follow. History notes that those flights never happened, that the U.S. overcame the huge Soviet lead and eventually won the race to the moon. Leonov did not take to space again until 1975, when he commanded the Soviet half of the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission, a flight that marked the formal end of the space race, celebrated the age of détente and led, decades later, to the multinational cooperation of the International Space Station.

Keystone-France/Getty ImagesPeople celebrating the success of the mission Voskhod II in Moscow in 1965.

As Grob’s elegant photos show, Leonov still wears his medals and his dignity well. He has outlived legends—Ed White, who became America’s first spacewalker, in June of 1965; Neil Armstrong, who kicked up the lunar dust Leonov was supposed to be first to stir; Gagarin, who was considered too great a national prize ever to endanger by sending to space again and who died instead in a routine training run of a MiG-15 jet in 1968. It was Leonov who identified his friend’s remains by a birthmark on his neck.

The half a century since Leonov’s walk is a lot of time in human history, nothing at all in cosmic history. That dual kind of timekeeping is something the species only truly began practicing after men like Leonov went aloft—changing our terrestrial perspective forever.

Read next: Mars Probably Had More Water Than the Arctic Ocean, Study Says

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TIME celebrities

Dolce & Gabbana Try to Clarify IVF Remarks That Had Elton John Fuming

Celebrities urged a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana products in response to their comments about "synthetic children"

Italian fashion moguls Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have used an interview with CNN to backtrack slightly on their controversial remarks about in vitro fertilization (IVF) that sparked a public backlash, saying that they don’t judge the lifestyles of others but were simply expressing a private opinion.

“I respect you because you choose what you want. I respect me because I choose what I want … This just my point of private view,” Dolce said in the interview.

The two appeared to disagree over IVF with Gabbana seeming more open to the idea while Dolce explained that his Sicilian background engrained in him a belief in the strong, traditional family.

The original comments, in which Dolce called IVF babes “wombs for rent” and “sperm selected from a catalog,” caused pop icon Elton John to urge a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana products that gained support from many celebrities and the wider public.

Read next: This Is Why Shailene Woodley Eats Clay

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TIME space

Watch the Northern Lights Turn a Spectacular Green for St. Paddy’s Day

From Iceland's Faroe Islands

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, astronomers from the Slooh expedition team will venture out to Iceland’s Faroe Islands to stream the Northern Lights turning a mesmerizing shade of emerald green.

The natural light show will begin at 6 p.m. EST and Twitter users are asked to send in questions with the hashtag #SloohAurora.

TIME animals

Endangered Hopping Mouse Caught on Film for the First Time

Scientists know little about the rare species

A rare Australian rodent has been captured on film for the first time.

The northern hopping mouse, a tiny creature with a 4-inch body and 6-inch tail that hops like a kangaroo, is endangered and extremely rare, Newsweek reports. Scientists know very few details about the mice. The rodent’s habitat is restricted to a small part of northern Australia, and its size, speed and nocturnal habits make it very hard to catch or study.

Rebecca Diete, a postdoctoral student at the University of Queensland, made it her mission to find and document the mouse. A year of obsession finally paid off when she encountered one on a large island called Groote Eylandt. Her video shows a female building an underground burrow.

Her research has helped fill in a lot of blanks about the species. Unfortunately, some of her findings indicate the little mice may have a much smaller habitat range than scientists estimated, making them more endangered than previously thought.


TIME animals

Here’s What It’s Like to Fly From the Top of the World’s Tallest Building on an Eagle’s Back

That's a 2,722 feet drop captured on video

An eagle flew 2,722 feet from the top of the world’s tallest building in Dubai on Saturday with a camera strapped to its back, and the video is amazing.

The eagle, named Darshan, flew from the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to its trainer on the ground as part of a public awareness campaign for endangered species led by the Freedom Conservation group. Freedom Conservation has publicized other videos with eagles flying from famous locations like the Eiffel Tower and St. Paul’s Cathedral in Paris. The flight in Dubai now holds the record for “highest-ever recorded bird flight from a man-made structure,” the group says.

“We know that people love these types of videos. It’s a great way for us to attract the public’s attention to endangered animals and to the fact that humans need to learn how to share their space with these animals,” Freedom Conservation Director Ronald Menzel told NBC News.

Read next: So This Baby Weasel Decided to Hitch a Ride on a Flying Woodpecker’s Back

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