How to Make a Solar Eclipse Viewfinder

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Solar eclipses, where the moon gets between the sun and earth and casts a shadow over earth, can happen anywhere from two to five times per year. Even though the moon may be totally or partially covering the sun, it is still unsafe to look directly into a solar eclipse because of the sun’s harmful rays which can cause serious eye damage or even blindness. But don’t miss your chance to view a solar eclipse!  For more information on the do’s and don’ts of watching, please visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/.

Use the following instructions to create an eclipse viewfinder to safely watch:

Materials:

  • Bottle Cap
  • 25 cm PVC pipe, or the same diameter of your bottle cap
  • 12 cm PVC pipe (this piece should fit snuggly into the 25 cm PVC pipe)
  • Black Paint
  • Small Paint Brush
  • Square Piece of Wax Paper (4 x 4 inches)
  • Black Electrical Tape
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Digital Camera or Camera Phone

Instructions:

  1. Coat the inside of the bottle cap using the black paint and paint brush. Let dry.
  2. Cover one side of the 12 cm PVC pipe with the wax paper. Use tape to secure the wax paper to the PVC pipe.
  3. Using a hammer and nail, make a small hole in the center of the bottle cap.
  4. Place the bottle cap at the top of the 25 cm PVC piece and secure it using electrical tape.
  5. Take the smaller PVC pipe and push it into the larger PVC pipe.
  6. Point your eclipse view finder towards the sky, insert your camera lens into the view finder and view the solar eclipse on your camera screen.