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How to make your own solar eclipse viewers

Hilton Head High grad plans to record eclipse shadow over Charleston, this is how

Robert Moody, a graduate of Hilton Head Island High School and current College of Charleston student, is part of a team that will be recording the shadow of the eclipse as it passes over Charleston, S.C. on Monday.
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Robert Moody, a graduate of Hilton Head Island High School and current College of Charleston student, is part of a team that will be recording the shadow of the eclipse as it passes over Charleston, S.C. on Monday.

Don’t have solar eclipse glasses, but still want to see this historic occasion?

Don’t burn your retinas. There is another way. And it might be in your kitchen cabinet.

NASA explains how to turn an ordinary cereal box into a pin-hole viewer that will let you watch the solar eclipse unfold without any damages to your eyesight.

Here’s what you’ll need: a cereal box (any cardboard box that you can cut will do), a plain white piece of paper, glue or tape, scissors, a nail or the head of a pen and aluminum foil.

Here comes the magic: “If the bottom of the box isn’t white, glue (or tape) a white piece of paper to the bottom. This makes it easier to see the projected image,” NASA advises.

Cut off either end of the box top, but leave the middle of the box top in place.

“This creates two openings, one for the foil the other for viewing,” according to NASA.

Tape aluminum foil over one of the openings and then use a nail or the head of a pen to push a hole through the center of the foil.

“Hold the finished pin-hole viewer with the sun shining on the pin-hole. The sun will be behind you,” NASA says. “While looking in the opening, move the box until an image of the sun appears on the bottom.”

Once it does, you will have the sun in your sights without the sun damaging your sight.

Can you answer these questions that school-aged children had to answer about the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21?

“This is a safe way to view an eclipse,” NASA says.

It’s also a fun do-it-yourself project that just might help you not miss the eclipse. But there are more DIY projects for eclipse-viewing out there.

How to make a pinhole camera

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology has also released tips on how to make a pinhole camera with two pieces of white card stock, aluminum foil, tape and a pin or a paper clip.

Fold one piece of the white card stock in half and cut a square out of the middle where the fold is in the paper. Tape a piece of foil over the hole and then use a pin or a paper clip to poke a small hole in the center of the foil.

“Place your second piece of card stock on the ground and hold the piece with aluminum foil above it (foil facing up),” NASA advises. “Stand with the sun behind you and view the projected image on the card stock below!”

NASA says the farther away you hold your aluminum foil “camera,” the bigger your projected image will be.

“To make your projection a bit more defined, try putting the bottom piece of card stock in a shadowed area while you hold the other piece in the sunlight,” NASA says.

You can also get creative by poking multiple holes in the foil or creating a pattern with the holes. Each pin hole will reflect the eclipse, according to NASA.

Emily Weaver: 843-444-1722, @TSNEmily

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