Watch the solar eclipse without viewing glasses.

Many people have been asking us how to safely watch the eclipse on Monday if they don't have viewing glasses.  There are lots of ways you can watch the eclipse. Here are some DIY ideas.  You'll need to practice a bit with each of these; just make sure the sun is behind or above you. And if all else fails, check out the last thing on this list.  Have fun!

Two paper plates (or pieces of card stock) about the same size. pinhole-projector

Using a pin or a needle make a very small hole in the center of one plate. Hold that plate in your hand. Put the second plate on the ground but not in your shadow. Hold the first plate in the air over the second one so that its shadow just about covers the plate on the ground. Moving it up and down and changing the angle of your hand, try and make the shadow the same size as the second plate, and you will see the image of the sun on the plate on the ground. Now just watch as the moon's shadow makes the sun disappear.


An empty cereal box: cereal-box-viewer

All you need is an empty cereal box, a piece of tin foil, some tape, a sheet of white paper and a pair of scissors. Trace around one small end of the box on the paper.  Cut out the rectangle cutting just inside your tracing line. Tape this piece on the inside bottom of the cereal box. Cut two holes in the top of the box to look like picture to the right. Place the piece of foil over one hole, covering it completely. Tape it down securely, then poke one small pin hole in the center of the foil.   Stand with your back to the sun. Printable instructions here.


A poster mailing tube: poster-tube-viewer

Supplies: poster mailing tube, piece of tin foil, a box cutter or x-acto knife, and tape. If the tube still has it's plastic end caps, keep one on the tube.  Cover the other end with foil and tape securely. Near the end with the cap, cut a 2-inch by 2-inch hole as shown. Poke a pin hole in the center of the tin foil. Stand the tube on the ground, with the foil end up. Angle the tube so that it doesn't cast a shadow. Then look through the viewing hole and you'll see the sun projected onto the end cap. NOTE:  if you don't have an endcap,  place a piece of paper on the ground and hold the tube over that, casting as small a shadow as you can.  Or tape a piece of paper carefully over the open end, trying not to wrinkle the paper.


A large cardboard box: box-viewer

You can make this with an open box too, just hold it upside down over your head. There are two tricks for this one though:

  • Don't make the pinhole opening in the center of one side - or your head will block the image. Make it near the left or right edge.
  • Make sure there are no other holes in the box to let in light. Cover all the seams and corners with duct tape to block out light from the extra holes.  Instructions can be found here at


If it's cloudy where you are, you can still watch the eclipse live on the internet. nasa-tv

NASA Television is offering a special live program, “Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA” with real-time coverage of the event from coast to coast. The nearly four-hour program will include unprecedented images of the August 21 eclipse from numerous spacecraft -- including the International Space Station – high-altitude aircraft and balloons, and ground observations. Each will offer a unique vantage point for the eclipse. Additionally, the broadcast will include live coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals and museums across the nation, and on social media. To watch the Aug. 21 NASA TV eclipse broadcast online and access interactive web content and views of the eclipse from these assets, visit:

ICPL will be running this live in Meeting Room A.

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