Solar-Eclipse Glasses Are Quickly Selling Out But You Can Make Something Better That Costs Almost Nothing

On August 21, the total solar eclipse will race across the continental US for the first time in 99 years.

Nearly anyone in the country can see the moon take a bite out of the sun during the epic event, weather permitting. Those in the path of totality can also watch the sun’s bright disk vanish.

However, it won’t be safe to look directly at the sun during the partial eclipse, as this can damage your eyes or even blind you. And that’s why online retailers are selling out of protective eclipse glasses and experiencing frustrating shipping delays.

The good news is that you don’t need special glasses to see a partial eclipse. In fact, everything you need to safely and clearly watch the eclipse is probably in one or two kitchen drawers — or, failing that, the palm of your hand.

The trick is a pinhole camera, which exploits a property of light called diffraction to bend and magnify light. In this case, that’s the eclipsing sun.

A pinhole camera won’t let you look directly at the sun — but in some ways, that’s better, because a crowd of people can gather around your setup to watch, point at, and discuss its projected image.

Pinhole cameras can get pretty advanced with darkened boxes and tripods, but NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has instructions for an incredibly simple version that you can build in a few minutes.

Grab some scissors, tin foil, a piece of thick card stock (or paper), tape, and a needle. Cut a hole in the middle of one sheet of card stock, tape the edges of a tin foil section over it, then carefully pierce the center of the foil with the needle — presto, you’ve made a pinhole camera.

pinhole camera solar eclipse nasa jplThe stuff you need to make a pinhole solar-eclipse viewer. NASA/JPL-Caltech

To use your device, hover it over something white, ideally a piece of paper, and move it up and down until you figure out where the ideal focus point is. You may want to experiment with widening the hole or even using a hole punch.

Don’t have these supplies sitting around? Make a fist.

If you barely let a point of sunlight sneak through, you can diffract and project the light using a fleshly pinhole camera:

fist hand pinhole camera solar eclipse flickr hat4rain ccby2 7242415580_01e49c1923_oA fist-based pinhole camera shows the crescent sun, center, during an eclipse. Hat4Rain/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

There are other, more effective ways to use projection to your advantage, though.

One great method is holding binoculars up to the sun — but not pointing them at your or anyone else’s eyes — while aiming the eyepiece on something bright and white, such as paper:

binoculars paper partial solar eclipse light projection troy mckaskle flickr ccbysa2 7239040948_915e1e2b81_oNever look at the sun directly with on-filtered binoculars. However, a pair can be a great way to project the solar eclipse’s light. Troy McKaskle/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

But if you’re feeling more adventurous, have a telescope handy, and aim to please a crowd, read these instructions to build a “sun funnel” that NASA, Nightwise, and the American Astronomical Society put together.

The device may not look pretty, but it will inexpensively and crisply project an image of the eclipsing sun onto a sheet for all to see.

No matter how you watch, don’t forget to apply a good layer of effective sunscreen if you’ll go outside. (Your skin will thank you.) And if you plan to stay indoors, tune into one of the several live webcasts we’ve rounded up here.

Read the original article on Business Insider. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2017.

Read next on Business Insider: The ages you’re the smartest at everything throughout your life

Read more:

from Innovative Home And Kitchen Tools | iHomeInnovations
via iHomeInnovations
from Things For The Kitchen And Home
via Home And Kitchen Guru

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