How to Build a Solar Viewer that Will Allow You to Safely View a Projected Image of the Sun
What you need
– two pieces of white card or a long box
– aluminium foil
– a pin
– binoculars or telescope (optional)
What to do:
1. Cut a five centimetre square in the centre of one piece of card.
2. Use a piece of aluminium foil to cover the square hole and tape to the card. Pierce a small hole in the centre of the foil using a pin or the sharp end of a pencil.
3. Stand with your back to the Sun and hold the card with aluminium foil above your shoulder or to your side, in the direction of the Sun. Use the other piece of cardboard to show the light passing through the hole in the aluminium foil.
4. By changing the distance between the two pieces of card you can change the size and brightness of the Sun’s image.
5. Holding the two pieces of card approximately one metre apart works best. If using a box, simply put the box over your head and look at the projection. You may feel silly, but it’s the safest way if you don’t have other equipment.
The length of the box is important. The longer the box, the bigger the pinhole image. To find the size of the image, multiply the length of the box by the number 0.0093. For a box that is 1 meter long, the image will be 0.0093 meters (or 9.3 mm) in diameter. If your box is 5 feet (60 inches) long, your solar image will be 60 x 0.0093 = 0.56 inches in diameter. If you want to round things off, the size of the image is about 1/100th the length of the box.
An alternative is to use a telescope or pair of binoculars to project an image of the Sun.
At no time should you look through the binoculars or telescope to view the Sun.
If you use binoculars attach them to a tripod and cover one lens with a piece of card.
Aim the binoculars or telescope at the Sun and project the image on to a screen or wall.
To protect the binoculars or telescope from becoming hot and overheating, turn it away from the Sun every minute or so.
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