How to Make Your Own Solar Eclipse Viewer

2 minute read

Would-be solar eclipse observers across the continental United States have been buying up eclipse glasses to safely view the celestial event on Monday. But you can also make your own perfectly safe solar eclipse viewer at home, no special glasses necessary.

As NASA Solar Eclipse Educator Charles Fulco explained to TIME for Kids kid reporter Caroline Curran in the video above,”What I like about a solar viewer is you don’t even look in the direction of the sun so there’s no chance of anyone hurting their eyes.” Anyone can make a solar viewer with a shipping tube and a few household items: tinfoil, a hobby knife, an awl (a tool used for punching holes), some tape, and a marker.

First, make a small hole on one end of the tube with a hobby knife. “You don’t want to make it a very large hole,” says Fulco, “because the larger the hole, the fuzzier the image.” To make the image even clearer, you next tape a piece of foil over the hole you carved, then puncture an even smaller hole in the foil with the awl. (Safety goggles are a good idea during this part of the process.)

Next, cut out a larger rectangle near the other end of the tube as a viewing window. “The viewing window is going to let you look into the tube to see the image of the sun formed at the rear of the tube,” says Fulco.

During the eclipse, you put the tube over your shoulder, with the small hole pointed at the sun. Make sure you don’t look directly at the sun, because you could damage your eyes. Instead, look inside the tube through the large rectangular cutout and “you should see a bright, white image of the sun suddenly appear at the very end of the tube,” Fulco says.

For more details on how to make a solar eclipse viewer, watch the video above.

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