Talk of the Great American Solar Eclipse has been circulating for months now. But unlike the smart, prepared people out there, I waited until a mere four days before the event to start my search for eclipse glasses. I honestly knew I was getting in the game pretty late (clearly), but I didn’t think it would be THAT bad.
Demand for these glasses has skyrocketed, and all across the country stores are selling out of eclipse glasses. In fact, any trace that these stores ever sold a single pair of eclipse glasses no longer exists. A quick Internet search of “Where you can still buy solar-eclipse glasses” led me to a nearby hardware store. No luck there. Then I found myself across the street at a local pharmacy, sports store, big box store, and every grocery store in-between.
Even while walking in and out of these places, I made phone calls to at least 10 gas stations and pharmacies. I was beyond excited when one pharmacy told me they had some solar eclipse glasses in stock between $14-$19. Ecstatic, I raced right on over only to realize what the clerk thought I meant by “solar glasses.” Pure disappointment when instead of eclipse viewing glasses, all I found was a big rack of sunglasses. In case you didn’t know, sunglasses are a major no-no when it comes to viewing the solar eclipse.
I tried a national toy store, but the clerk told me all locations on the entire western seaboard are sold out. After nearly two hours of driving miles on miles to every random shop I could think of that might carry a pair, I accepted defeat.
So what’s a procrastinator like me to do? I made my own pinhole projector with items found in most households. If you couldn’t score a pair either, but still want to safely view the upcoming sky show, here’s how you can make your own pinhole projector:
Materials you need:
White paper, a long box (I happen to have a shipping box but a cereal box works great too!), foil, pen, push pin, tape, and scissors.
Trace the bottom of the box on a piece of white paper.
Cut out the outline of the box.
Tape inside the bottom of the box.
Cut two rectangular holes on the top of the box (narrow side). One on the right, the other on the left.
Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the left hole. Tape in place.
Poke a pinhole in the center of the tin foil.
TA-DA! Turn your back to the sun, and look through the right hole. The light will filter through the pinhole and reflect on the paper in the back.
2023 (the next expected eclipse), I’ll be ready for you!