ICYMI, North America is expecting! No, not a baby, but rather, a solar eclipse! Just as good, right?! Kinda? Anyways, on August 21, you'll be able to see the moon cover the sun over the course of 100 minutes. According to NASA, 14 states will experience more than two minutes of total darkness in the middle of the day. All the other states will get to watch a "partial eclipse."
Oregon will be the first state to see the effects of the eclipse at about 9:05 a.m. local time. It'll end near Charleston, South Carolina at around 2:48 p.m.
This is super exciting, because it's the first coast-to-coast total eclipse that the U.S. gets to see in a long, long time. Your pets might act up, your love life might take a toll, and all that good, superstitious, astrological brouhaha could impact your life in somehow, but one things for sure. You'll get to see the moon cover the sun, and that's pretty damn cool.
Here's the thing. It's super dangerous to look directly at the sun. Seriously, you could burn through your retinas and go blind if you're not careful, and your bougie Wayfarers won't protect you. On the bright side, the methods below will! You can make a solar eclipse projector by using casual household items you might have lying around. So, sweep your kitchen and get crafting! There are only a few hours left 'till show time!
1. Make a pinhole projector
To make an old-school pinhole projector, you'll need an empty cereal box, a peace of white paper, scissors, a bit of aluminum foil, a pushpin or nail, and tape. That's it!
First, get the paper and trace the bottom rectangle shape of a cereal box on it. Cut that rectangle shape out of the white paper and glue it to the bottom of the cereal box.
You'll then need to cut two square shapes on opposite sides of the top of the box. Use tape and aluminum foil to cover one of the holes.
Then, use a small nail or pushpin to poke a hole in the foil. When it's time for the eclipse, turn your back to the sun and let it shine through the little pinhole in the foil. You'll be looking at it through the opposite open hole. Move the box around until you see an image of the sun on the bottom of the box (on that piece of white paper you glued earlier!). FYI: You can do this with any size box!
2. Use a can of Pringles!
A similar concept to that of the cereal box projector, this method uses a can of Pringles. In addition to the can, you'll need a pair of scissors, white paper, dark card stock paper, tape, glue, some clothespins, and a small drill or nail/hammer.
Make a small hole at the bottom center of the can. Then, trace the round shape of the can onto a piece of white paper. Glue that circle to the plastic lid of the Pringles can.
You'll then need to cut a "window" into the can that's about 6 cm long and 4 cm wide. The video above recommends using a serrated knife, so maybe keep this part away from little kids. For the next step, you'll need to bring in that dark card stock paper and cut a 20 cm piece to glue to the inside of the can. Use the clothespins to hold down the edges and make sure they stick. You'll want to keep them on there for a bit until it dries.
Once that's done, your Pringles camera is pretty much finished. Just set it up so that the hole on the bottom of the can is directly facing the sun, and the image projects on the white piece of paper.
3. Use binoculars to make a projector
Have a pair of binoculars lying around? Grab 'em! You can make a projector to reflect the eclipse onto a screen. DO NOT LOOK INTO THE BINOCULARS DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN. You will hurt your eyes.
Besides the binoculars, you'd need a tripod (or a stack of books, according to the video above), duct tape, scissors or a cardboard cutter, and two pieces of cardboard. Trace the round binocular lenses onto the piece of cardboard and cut out the holes. Then, you're going to want to place your binoculars onto a steady surface with the bigger lenses pointing up towards the sun. Place the cardboard cutout atop your binocular lenses, and cover one of the lenses. You could use cardboard for this too.
Grab that second piece of cardboard and place it about a foot behind the binoculars. Use the focus feature on the binoculars to focus the image of the sun that's on the cardboard. The moon will pass over the sun and you'll see it reflected on the cardboard.
4. Make your own glasses!
Use our template to cut out the shape of your DIY solar eclipse glasses. Use a solar filter sheet for the lenses and tape them into the paper template. Super easy!
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