Saturday, May 19, 2012

Safe Viewing With a Pinhole Camera

The above image demonstrates the use of a pinhole camera to safely view the sun. Such a device could be very handy for the May 20 annular eclipse and the transit of Venus over June 5-6. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As you may well know by now, Earth will be treated to an annular solar eclipse this Sunday, May 20th, and a transit of Venus over June 5-6. Because solar safety bears repeating, we will do so now.

ATTENTION! You should never, never look at the sun directly, even with binoculars or a telescope, because you could severely damage your eyes or even go blind! Now that we have that out of the way...

There are special filtering materials that, when used correctly, allow you to view the sun safely. If you do not have these, or you are not certain how to use them, do not take chances. Instead, view the sun using a projection method.

If you have binoculars or a telescope, you may use them to project an image. We discussed this method in a May 18th posting, so just read back.

If you do not have a telescope or binoculars, no worries! You can still enjoy the event using a pinhole camera that you can make yourself, cheaply and easily.

JPL Education has created a wonderful page, compete with pictures, that walks you through the entire project. Please check it out and tell a friend!

"How to Make a Pinhole Camera." JPL Education, NASA/JPL-Caltech:

For more information on eclipses, visit this site:


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