Solar Eclipse Viewer

Many of us have witnessed a lunar eclipse since they happen very often, but it’s rare to see a solar eclipse. The last one we were able to view in the United States was 1979. I’m so excited to be able to show my boys it this year!

The most important thing to remember is that you cannot look directly at the sun. We’re told this all the time, but during an eclipse, its super important, since the moon moves in front of the sun, and it makes it seem dark out, and easier on the eyes to look. But the reality is that the light visible around the moon can still do tons of damage.

I remember my mom taking us all outside to see it, using a shallow dish of water to reflect the light. I looked online at the NASA website (click here), and they have all sorts of great information, including telling you exactly what time the best viewing is for your area. They also provide safe ways to view the eclipse. Taking their queue, I figured out my own “Eclipse Viewer”, using just some everyday things around the house.

What you need:

  • Good sized box, the longer, the better
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tape
  • White paper
  • Toothpick

How to assemble:

  1. Cut a small rectangle or square into one end of the box. It should be one of the shorter ends to make the distance to the back the longest possible.
  2. Cover the hole you cut with a piece of aluminum foil and tape on all sides. Make sure you use as smooth a piece as possible to that wrinkles don’t distort the image.
  3. Using a toothpick, poke a small, even hole into the aluminum foil, about at center.
  4. Tape a piece of white paper to the opposite end of the box as they foil, but INSIDE the box. This will become your screen.

When it’s time to view the eclipse, hold the box up toward the sun, with the foil facing the sun. Move the box until you can see the image of the hole on the paper inside the box. During the eclipse, you will see the hole change to reflect the moon moving over the sun. (I will update this post after the eclipse with photos)

Try it out! What better way to teach your kids about science than to see if happening first hand??


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