Catch The Eclipse With A Wearable Pinhole Camera

You say you didn’t have enough warning to order eclipse glasses, and now they’re too expensive to buy? Or maybe you did order some but they ended up being those retina-combusting knock-offs, and now you’ve got nothing to protect you during the partial phase of Monday’s eclipse? Don’t dump a ton of money on unobtainium glasses — just stick your head in a cardboard box.

You may end up looking like a Box Troll with the aptly named [audreyobscura]’s box on your head, but it really is a safe and effective way of watching the eclipse, or for gazing at our star anytime for that matter. It’s nothing more than a large pinhole camera, with a tiny hole in a scrap of aluminum soda can acting as an aperture. The pinhole in one end of a box casts a perfect image of the sun on a paper screen at the other end of the box. A hole for your head with a proper gasket around your neck — maybe the neck of an old T-shirt would be a bit more comfortable and light tight? — and you’re ready for the show. The bigger the box, the bigger (and dimmer) the image will be, so you’ll want to cruise the local home center for long boxes. Because walking around with a water heater box on your head is totally cool.

Really, though, Hackaday readers can’t say they didn’t know this was coming. We started covering this in January, we’ve got hundreds of eclipse meetups across the country, and we’ve even covered some citizen science opportunities you can partake in on Eclipse Day. If you don’t have your head in a box, that is.

Thanks to [Roger Guess] for the idea on this one.

18 thoughts on “Catch The Eclipse With A Wearable Pinhole Camera

        1. That line still worked for me for the 2016 eclipse in Indonesia. I made a couple pin hole cameras, the simplest being a a juice container with a pin prick in the straw hole foil and wet paper towel across the bottom which had been ripped off. The result was ugly has heck but it worked, had an image of the eclipse a few millimeters across.
          The friend I made that day eclipsed the eclipse it self.

  1. has anyone suggested the use of 35mm film? thats what we used when we had eclipse in africa back in the early 2000’s, also two cd’s back to back work too. but dont quote (or sue) me

    1. Neither of those is very effective. Also, like the eclipse glasses they don’t provide much detail, since they don’t magnify the image, like the pinhole camera will.

  2. I used the box fir n eclipse that I think was in 1970, but maybe 71. I can’t remember the results. Film was definitely suggested back then, but that’s less of common item nowadays.


  3. Folks, I just talked to the sun and looks like it won’t be able to make it to the eclipse this year due to last minute change of plans. Did not give any details but said it is looking forward to 2024. Sorry for the bad news.

  4. That is the stupidest looking goddamn thing I’ve ever seen but I love it, you could build this with your kids, one for each munchkin observer, just wonder if you could use tinfoil instead of tin can for the pin hole?

  5. Tinfoil? Sure. Surprised to not see more tips about using a shoe box like back in the 80’s. More commercial by far with to many “special” telescopes and binoculaR’s for sell when the same exact “normal” scope + vendor end cap with film (see celestron for example of $16-19 cap for their low end refractors) is less than half the eclipse version.

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