The Solar Eclipse is April 8: Here is Where you Can Watch (safely) at Home or at Eclipse Parties

On April 8, sky-gazers in North America will be treated to a total solar eclipse that will be at least partially visible in every state except Alaska, and “maximum totality” — when the moon passes completely in front of the sun — will be 90 percent visible in Toms River. 

Many schools here in New Jersey are preparing for the eclipse with early dismissals, including the Shore Regional High School District in Monmouth County.

There will be several solar eclipse parties planned from Liberty Science Center in Jersey City holding “New Jersey’s largest astronomy party” complete with free solar glasses and a Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” as accompaniment. The Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook is hosting an Eclipse Watch Party on the beach and will also distribute solar glasses.  Novins Planetarium on the Ocean County College campus will hold a Partial Solar Eclipse Event beginning at 2 pm.

If you want to participate in the solar eclipse fun and do a fun project with your kids, here is something that many people did to watch the 2017 eclipse with a homemade viewer, and all you need are some simple household items: a cereal box, printer paper, tin foil, and tape to make your own pinhole projector to safely view the solar eclipse at home with your back facing the sun.

This setup with items from your house allows you to safely observe an image of the solar eclipse without directly exposing your eyes to the sun.


Here is what you need to make your DIY solar eclipse pinhole viewer:

  • White paper (printer paper)
  • A cereal box
  • Aluminum foil (tin foil)
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • Tape

Step-by-step guide to making a DIY pinhole projector

1. Prepare the viewer vase: Begin with a cereal box and use a pencil to trace its bottom onto a piece of white printer paper. This traced shape, once cut out, will fit snugly at the bottom of your cereal box, serving as a clean backdrop to view the eclipse.

2. Secure the base: After cutting out the traced shape, it’s crucial to tape it firmly at the bottom of the cereal box. Secure this piece to avoid any displacement that could disrupt the viewing experience.

3. Modify the box: The next step involves cutting out the two sides on the top of the cereal box while leaving the center intact. This adjustment ensures you have a dedicated space to see through and observe the eclipse safely.

4. Apply the foil and create the pinhole: Cover one of the open sides at the top with aluminum foil, securing it in place with tape. With the foil firmly attached, use a sharp object like a nail to poke a tiny hole in it. This small aperture will be your window to the eclipse, allowing sunlight to enter the box in a controlled manner.

5. Viewing the eclipse: To use the viewer, position yourself with your back to the sun so that the sunlight enters through the pinhole onto the white paper at the bottom of the box. Look through the open side opposite the foil to see the projected image of the eclipse. This setup lets you safely observe the solar eclipse without directly exposing your eyes to the sun.

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