How to make a Solar Eclipse Viewer

Sally Broughton
Thursday, 19th March 2015

It's solar eclipse time in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20 2015. Don't hurt your eyes by staring to into the sun! Here's how to make a simple viewer.

You'll need a shoebox - or similar - small piece of foil, small piece of white paper, and a sharp knife/scissors :-

Step 1. Cut a small hole (about 1 inch across) in one end of the shoe box, near an edge.
Step 2. Tape a piece of tinfoil over the hole.
Step 3. Using a pin or needle, punch a hole in the centre of the foil.
Step 4. Tape a small piece of white paper to the inside of the box, at the opposite end from the foil-covered hole. The paper should be positioned so that light entering the box through the pin hole will hit it. This is where you'll look for the sun.
Step 5. Cut a 1 inch-diameter hole in the box near the image screen (the white piece of paper), but on a different side of the box — the side adjacent to the screen. This is your viewing hole; it must be positioned such that you can look through it at an angle and see the image screen.

When the time comes for the eclipse — May 20 at 09.20 - 09.30ish GMT — hold the shoe box so that it lines up with its own shadow, so that it is aligned with light from the sun. Stand so that when you look through the viewing hole, you can see a tiny bead of light on the image screen; that's the sun. During the eclipse, you'll see the shadow of the moon pass in front of the sun.

Happy Solar Eclipse - and Happy Spring Equinox!


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