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Seeing the Eclipse: Special Glasses or the Pin Hole Projector

IUPUI professor explains the glasses and another way to see the eclipse

INDIANAPOLIS--If you're planning on going to a viewing party for the solar eclipse Monday, plan on either having glasses, or making a pin hole projector, or not looking at all, said Dr. Andrew Gavrin, physics professor at IUPUI.

Why you should be thoughtful about the sun

"The sun is such a bright object that even if only 10 percent of it is visible, it can damage your eyes in seconds," said Gavrin. He said the school is having a viewing party Monday, and his department ordered about 2,000 pair of ISO certified glasses to hand out to students.

Gavrin said you should make sure the ones you may have are safe.

"There are some unscrupulous vendors out on the internet, so I would suggest searching for safe eclipse glasses," he said. "NASA and the American Astronomical Society have information out there, including a list of good vendors who will give you glasses that you are sure to be safe with."

Once you have glasses

Gavrin said that once you have glasses with the right filter, you should be good to go for Mondat afternoon.

"Once you get a good pair of glasses that really are safe, you can look at the sun during the eclipse for several minutes at a time without damaging your eyes," said Gavrin. He said that if you don't have glasses or are really concerned, you can make a pin hole projector.

The pin hole method

"We have two pieces of cardboard, with one nice white surface," said Gavrin, holding one of the pieces of thin cardboard, not box stock, to a bulletin board. "Now we go outside. Hold the one with the hole in it up in the direction of the sun," he said. Then you hold the other one underneath. You'll get an image of the sun. 

Gavrin said it won't be big, but you'll be able to see the image of the moon coming in front of the sun.

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

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