100 Days Until Totality! 48 Days Left – How to Make a Pinhole Camera

Credit: NASA/JPL

Pinhole cameras are an easy and accessible way to view a solar eclipse. They are especially useful for young children or others who may not be able to look through a special solar telescope or solar eclipse glasses. Pinhole cameras are simple devices that use the properties of light to create a perfectly in focus image with no fancy lenses or mirrors. To create the camera all you will need is 2 pieces of white cardstock paper, aluminum foil, tape, scissors and a pin.

Take one of the pieces of paper and cut a square hole in the middle. It does not matter how large you make the square, but making it a little larger will probably make this project easier to work with. The next step is to tape aluminum foil over the square hole, completely covering it. Here comes the “pinhole” part of the pinhole camera, take the pin and make a tiny hole in the center of the aluminum foil. Congratulations! You now have a simple and easy way to view the eclipse.

Simply stand outside with the Sun behind you and let the light from the Sun fall onto the “camera” (with the foil side facing towards the Sun). The image will be projected below you on the ground. You can place the second piece of paper here to provide a nice screen for the image. Holding the camera farther from the screen will create a bigger image. You should try this out before the eclipse to get some practice and figure out what looks best to you.

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