Better than Solar Eclipse Glasses! The pinhole box.

I just made this a pinhole box viewer for the total eclipse because well why not. The next total eclipse is 28 years away.

Luckily, my wife scored one pair of the hard to find solar viewing sunglasses, but I thought it’d be nice to not have to fight over them. When I tested it out compared to the solar glasses, however, I was amazed at the difference of image. Much more detail and sharper focus. (I’ll have to make another one of these now.)

Total Solar Eclipse Viewer

So you can find some videos on-line, but here’s the quick version:

You want the box to be long, a shoe box or ceral box.

The longer the box, the larger the projected image will be.

Cut two 1-inch holes, cover one with foil.

Secure the foil in place with tape and poke a tiny hole with a pin in the foil. One instruction I saw for a pinhole camera said to push the pin all the way thru for the cleanest circle. I used a tiny electronics screwdriver, so mine is a little ragged. I was originally thinking why use the foil, just poke a hole thru the cardboard? Totally guessing here, but I believe that the thinner material makes for a sharper image. Ask your local physic professor if you really want to geek out.

Tape white paper along inside bottom edge

My box opened like a laptop, so this step was easy for me. White paper acts like the white screen of a movie projection, bouncing all the colors of the light spectrum. You want it as smooth and flat as possible so there is no distortion.

Seal the edges

I used remaining scraps of white paper, but that let in some light, so I covered any spots I could see with electrical tape. No light pollution in there. Pinhole camera’s spray paint black, but that’s overkill.

Test it out!

Stand with your back to a light, look thru the opening with the aluminum foil side above your head. Move around until you see the light projected on the white paper. My light was a spot light, inside a cone, (think of that little Pixar animated desk lamp). With the pinhole box I was able to make out the cone, with the glasses it was just an orangish blob.

Solar projection box

pinhole vs lenses


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