If you are looking to take science into your own hands you have a perfect opportunity to do so tomorrow (Friday) when a total solar eclipse takes place.
One of the easiest and safest ways to view the sun – eclipsed and uneclipsed – is to project its image on a screen using a pinhole camera or a pinhole projector.
You can make one at home using common household items.
You will need two sheets of plain white paper - printer paper is ideal - or two pieces of stiff, white paper or white cardboard and for the pinhole, a thumbtack or a sharp pin.
To make a quick version of the pinhole projector, take a sheet of paper and make a very small hole in the middle of it using a pin or a thumbtack. Make sure that the hole is round and smooth.
Hold this piece of paper in front of the sun and do not look at it directly.
The second sheet of paper will act as a screen. Hold it at a distance so that an inverted image of the sun is projected onto it through the pinhole.
To make the image of the sun larger, move the screen away from the pinhole sheet.
Do not look at the sun through the pinhole or through the paper. When using this kind of projector, your back must be towards the sun.
Never look at the Sun directly without protective eye gear. Even sunglasses cannot protect your eyes from the damage the Sun’s rays can do to them.
Now, a few important things to remember.
Do not look at the sun through the pinhole.
Always keep your back towards the sun while looking at a pinhole or a binocular projection.
You can also see the eclipse though a box pinhole projector. This device works on the same principle as the basic one, except it is much sturdier, easier to set on a surface and requires a few extra items to construct.
If you do happen to make a pinhole projector, take a picture and send it to us: firstname.lastname@example.org