DIY: Eclipse Viewer and Printables!

In case you’ve been living on another planet and have missed the big news, North America is gearing up for one of the Earth’s most awe-inspiring events: a total solar eclipse! Taking place on Monday, August 21, the eclipse will be visible throughout a large stretch of the United States. A total eclipse is when the moon completely covers the sun, giving us Earthlings a few minutes of darkness during the day.

This map, courtesy of NASA, shows the path of totality through the U.S.:

It’s “Totality” Awesome!

Learning can be found everywhere and what a great time to share some fun eclipse facts with your little watchers. Hey, you might even learn something new, too!

Eclipse Facts:

  • •This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years.
  • •A solar eclipse is a lineup of the Sun, the Moon, and Earth.
  • •Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a part of the eclipse.
  • •Oregon is the first state where the eclipse will make contact
  • •It will only last 2 minutes and 40 seconds
  • •More people will watch this eclipse than any other eclipse…ever!
  • •The next eclipse won’t be until 2024

Okay…Now that we’re all up to speed let’s get building that viewer!

How to Make a Solar Eclipse Viewer!

It cannot be stressed enough that staring at the sun is not safe, during the eclipse or any other time. Here’s a few ways to view the eclipse so you and your little scientists can enjoy this once in a lifetime phenomenon.

How to Make a Solar Eclipse Viewer!

Here is what you will need:

  •  A long, cardboard tube (an old wrapping paper tube, perhaps)
  •  White paper
  •  Tinfoil
  •  One rubber band
  •  Tape
  •  A pushpin or safety pin
  •  Decorations or markers, if you choose

eclipse craft

First, cut your viewing hole. Cut it no more than an inch wide and about 1-2 inches tall.

eclipse craft

This hole is where you will view the eclipse, so your white paper will cap the bottom. Cut a circle a little larger than the circumference of the bottom of the tube and attach with tape. Make it flat like a canvas.

eclipse craft

eclipse craft

eclipse craft

Next, cut a square of your tinfoil and fit it over the tube’s other end. Fasten it with the rubber band.

eclipse craft

With your pin, poke a very small hole through the top of the tinfoil.

eclipse craft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice with your viewer outside before the eclipse. Head outside to find your child’s shadow. Position your child with their back to the sun.

eclipse craft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Point the tin foil end toward the sun. Look through your cutout window to find the eclipse on August 21st!

eclipse craft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check NASA.gov or your local news to find out the peak time when you will be able to see the eclipse in your area. Happy viewing!

eclipse craft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: It is recommended to use AAS approved eye protection when viewing a solar eclipse

Here are some other fun ways to view the eclipse:

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/activities
https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/projection

Solar Eclipse Printables

Don’t forget your solar eclipse printable activities that are out of this world!