Pinhole cameras give unique, safe view of eclipse

Students make homemade devices to see solar eclipse

By Ashley Harding - Reporter , Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter , Mark Collins - Meteorologist
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Children at Lake Asbury Junior High School in Clay County spent the morning making pinhole cameras to prepare for Monday's solar eclipse.

They made them out of cereal boxes, shoe boxes and other cardboard boxes.

Thomas Webber, a teacher at Oakleaf High School and former planetarium director, said Monday was his fifth solar eclipse, and he gave science students a crash course on the eclipse: from the totality they could expect to see, to why total solar eclipses happen so infrequently.

He said the eclipse is the perfect teaching opportunity for an educator.

"I'm calling it the great first lab that a lot of kids can do to go outside. Nature has given us this wonderful show that these kids aren't going to have an opportunity to see in Northeast Florida again till 2045, so what a great opportunity for them,” Webber said.

News4Jax meteorologist Mark Collins made a pinhole projection viewer using household items Friday while live on The Morning Show.

To make one, all you need is a box, a white piece of paper, some tinfoil and tape. Cut holes in the corners of the top of the box, creating flaps on either side, and then snip off the flaps to create to square holes on each side of the box top.

Then you take a piece of white paper cut to the shape of the bottom of the box and tape it to the inside of the bottom. It will reflect the sunlight through a small pinhole.

Then take a square piece of tinfoil, tape it over one of the holes in the top of the box and take a pen and poke a hole into the piece of tinfoil to create a pinhole.

To view the eclipse with the pinhole viewer, stand with your back to the sun and aim the pinhole opening at the sun. It will project onto the paper, which you can see through the remaining open hole in the box top.

It's a cool way to look at the eclipse, but you'll really just see the shadow effects, meteorologist Richard Nunn said.

If you want to try to make your own using binoculars or a telescope and some cardboard, go to http://astrosociety.org.

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