Many of you lucky people are gearing up to experience the first solar eclipse of the century. On Sunday, a partial solar eclipse is expected to block out most of the sun sometime between 5:16 and 7:40 pm. Pretty much the entire country (USA) will experience the solar eclipse, with the exception of the eastern seaboard, where I live.
Many national parks are setting up to make safe and easy viewing possible. With a solar eclipse, it is very important that you look carefully, and take precautions. Viewing a solar eclipse directly can seriously damage your eyes. Permanently.
The best way to experience the solar eclipse is to find a local viewing party that is hosted by professional or amateur astronomers. They will guide you to a safe way to view the eclipse, as well as provide equipment.
If you want to do it yourself, you should create a pinhole projector. You want to turn your back to the eclipse and allow the sun’s light to shine through a pinhole and then get projected on to a piece of paper or cardboard. You will be able to see everything this way, from start to finish as the moon’s path progresses in front of the sun.
To make a pinhole projector, take two piece of cardboard and put a pinhole into one of them. Make sure that the hole is a clean hole. With your back to the eclipse, let the light shine through the pinhole and onto the other sheet where you can view it. You’ll get a tiny image of the sun.
If you find yourself unprepared but still want to experience the solar eclipse, you can take to nature to help you. Viewing the shadows cast by the leaves of a tree. You may see little rings of light in the shadows of the leaves, and if the leaves have little bug holes, they will also act as pinhole projectors.