DIY Eclipse Shadow Viewers

Explore engineering DIY eclipse viewers! Directly viewing a solar eclipse without proper eye protection is unsafe, but you can easily observe the eclipse using shadows. Create your own viewer to use on Monday, April 8th for the Total Solar Eclipse!

This video was created in collaboration with the Sci-Tech Discovery Center. This work is supported by the Simons Foundation and is part of its ‘In the Path of Totality’ initiative.

#TotalEclipseOfThePark #Eclipse #STEM #Space #Museum #StemEducation #STEMinASL #STEMvee #Engineering #DIYviewers

Transcript: Looking directly at the Sun is harmful to our eyes. So, how can we safely view the Sun during a solar eclipse? By using engineering! Engineers are people who design, test, and build machines, structures, and more. Many times, they start with a problem and then come up with ideas for a solution. Our problem today is, “How can we view the sun safely to observe an eclipse?” One easy solution is to use the Moon’s shadow! When the sun shines on the Earth, we can see light, feel warmth, and experience daytime. However, if the Moon passes in front of the Sun during the day, it will become more dim and cooler, appearing like nighttime. This is because the Moon is casting a giant shadow across the Earth. It can be difficult to see the shadow unless you use a pinhole, similar to the tiny opening in a camera.
A pinhole allows a tiny bit of the Sun’s light to pass through the opening and then the Moon’s shadow will begin to block the image of the Sun projected through the hole. You can see this during an eclipse by looking at the shadows made between tree leaves, or by using items around your house like a colander. If you’d like to engineer a DIY eclipse viewer, an easy option is to use a cardboard box or tube. Add white paper to the opposite side of the pinhole created by using a push pin and aluminum foil. Cut a viewing hole where you can see the white paper inside the box or tube and then turn your back to the Sun pointing the pinhole toward the light. Look inside and enjoy the show! Do you have other ideas for engineering your own safe eclipse shadow viewers? Leave a comment below with your creations before the Total Solar Eclipse happening on April 8th here in the US. Check the link below for more information on if you’re in the path of totality or where you can join others for a safe solar viewing event.



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