Let’s get this out of the way first — regular sunglasses don’t offer enough protection for you to safely view Monday’s
solar eclipse with your average pair of shades. However, all isn’t lost in your effort to watch this celestial event
beginning just after 9 a.m. Monday Pacific Time (Aug. 21).
1. Solar Viewing Glasses
These special-purpose solar filters are the simplest and safest way to check out the action Monday. However, if you haven’t
picked them up already, you’re likely out of luck. Most stores in the Las Vegas area sold out over the past week (although
the College of Southern Nevada Planetarium is expected to have a last-minute batch of 1,500 glasses for sale starting Monday morning.) If you’re still shopping or scouring Amazon (watch for fake glasses too!), make sure the product you’re looking to purchase complies with ISO-certified (or, more specifically, ISO-12312-2) international safety standards of protection.
2. Arc Wielding Mask
This one is pretty random, but if you’ve got an arc-wielding mask, congratulations, you’re all set. That is, if the glass in the mask is rated #14 for adequate eye protection. If you don’t know what that means or how to check, best to try out a
SOLAR ECLIPSE 2017
3. Pinhole Camera
You’ve probably played with versions of the pinhole camera (or, the camera obscura) since you were in grade school.
Basically, poke a pinhole in any object, point it at the sun and the light that casts through the pinhole will project the
sun’s redirected ray on to a forward-facing wall or screen. Of course, the image is upside-down and backwards (it’s
science, folks!), but you get the idea.
You can create your own camera with a simple box. Poke a hole in one end of the box, then put a white piece of paper on the
inside of the other end. During the event, point the hole at the sun, stick your head in the box and, assuming your noggin
isn’t blocking the beam, your eyes will start to make out the outline of the eclipse projected on the paper.
4. Use Anything With a Hole in It
If sticking your head in a box isn’t in the cards for you (and trust us, we get it), you can employ the same principle by
using any object that has a small hole in it. A piece of paper with a pinhole punched into it, a colander, even the holes in a cracker can cast the eclipse’s distinctive shadow.
You can even go a step further and just check out the eclipse via the shadow of a leafy tree. If you look closely, you’ll
see that shadow dappled with dozens of crescent suns projected by the itsy-bitsy spaces between the leaves. Damn, science is cool!
Another cool version of the pinhole projection can be carried out with a pair of regular binoculars. No, don’t look at the
sun with the binoculars…that’s an extraordinarily bad idea. Instead, use some cardboard to create a shade and use it so
only the viewing eye pieces show through. During the eclipse, point the big end of the binoculars at the sun and point the
viewing end at your screen. The binoculars should magify your image and you can even adjust the focus to get a better view.
Stay safe…and good luck!