Viewing a Solar Eclipse

Viewing a Solar Eclipse
The solar eclipse has been a wondrous phenomenon to view for millennia. In the past it held great cultural significance and often induced fear. Today it is still an amazing event and can be viewed more carefully with some preparation. This is a page about viewing a solar eclipse.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
August 22, 2016

On August, 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the US. The path will cross the entire length of the country, from coast to coast. The last total solar eclipse to cross over so many states was in 1970 and the next one won't be until 2045, so this will be a rare opportunity. All of North America should see the partial eclipse, weather permitting, but the total eclipse will only be visible in a 70 mile wide path. Much of the country will have to travel to see totality and many are already making plans.

Viewing the 2017 Solar Eclipse


A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, blocking out light. This eclipse will start at 10:15 AM on the Oregon coast, and ends about an hour and a half later at 2:39 PM in North Carolina. Maximum totality will take place in Illinois, for only 2 minutes and 42 seconds. It's a very short event so be sure you are in place early so you don't miss it.

Whether you are traveling or are lucky enough to live in the eclipse path, some safety precautions are necessary. Never view a solar eclipse with your naked eye or you may permanently damage your vision. Regular sunglasses are not enough protection. Instead purchase mylar eclipse goggles, which block out the damaging rays. This is especially important for children who may not be able to avoid the temptation to look at the sun. You can also make or purchase a simple pinhole camera to view the eclipse indirectly.

For more information about the eclipse, here is a useful link. Please share your eclipse planning and tips in the feedback below. Happy viewing!


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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
August 25, 2017

You don't need a pinhole camera or special lenses to enjoy a solar eclipse. Here are some alternative methods from California during the full eclipse today.

Use a colander. Not the mesh type of colander, the kind for draining spaghetti with the little holes. Each one of those holes will act as pinhole camera and you'll see hundreds of images of the crescent sun on the ground or against a piece of paper you hold out in front of it. This is an old-school tip and image from my mother.

A colander showing crescent moon shaped shadows on a light surface, from the solar eclipse.


Standing near a tree. Sunlight beaming through the branches of trees creates a field of crescent-shaped light on the ground or walls nearby. It's the same as using a pinhole camera, just multiplied hundreds of time. This was a happy accident and so cool!

Moon shaped shadows from the trees, during the solar eclipse.


Apple Computer released a statement saying it was safe to use the selfie camera on smartphones to take a shot of the eclipse, whilst not looking at the screen. This is not true for hi-def and pro cameras. This image of the eclipse was taken by my dear friend, Abel, and okayed to share with our ThriftyFun family. Thanks, Abel!

The moon eclipsing the sun with clouds below.


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September 30, 2016

This is a page about making a pinhole solar eclipse viewer. There are several ways to safely view a solar eclipse, one is the pinhole viewer.

Pinhole Eclipse Viewer

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