Solar eclipses are a spectacular natural event is a rare phenomenon that takes place after a very long time. Watching the solar eclipse is truly something that you won’t want to miss, mainly because of the incredible rarity of such events. When watching the solar eclipse, however, you will have to use solar eclipse glasses. It is highly advised by NASA and other astronomy organizations that you NEVER look at the solar eclipse directly with your bare eyes, which brings up the importance of the solar eclipse glasses. In this article, you will go through how to make solar eclipse glasses DIY easily and what you should consider if you decide to buy one.
What’s the use of solar eclipse glasses?
During the solar eclipse, the New Moon moves just between the Sun and Earth, blocking the Sun’s rays from reaching the Earth and casting a shadow on specific parts of the Earth. Having a small surface area, the moon casts a total shadow on a specific area of the Earth, and the people living on the specified areas will be able to experience this unique phenomenon. It’s truly something that you wouldn’t want to miss, but you must observe some precautions. One of the precautions is using solar eclipse glasses.
According to The TIME, watching the sun with the naked eye during an eclipse can burn the retina and damage the images that your brain can view. This phenomenon is known as ‘eclipse blindness’ and can cause both temporary or permanent vision impairment. In the worst case scenarios, you might even get blind! You surely wouldn’t want that, right? To avoid such precarious situations, you need to use solar eclipse glasses that will protect your eyes.
How to make solar eclipse glasses at home?
Up until now, we’ve known why we need the solar eclipse glasses. Now we will go through how to make your own solar eclipse glasses very easily within a few simple steps. Take note that this method is approved by NASA. Without further ado, let’s get straight into it.
The NASA Approved Method
What you’ll need
- A cardboard box (or cereal box)
- Heavy duty foil
- Pieces of paper for covering the box
- Pieces of white cardboard for easier viewing
- Markets/Pictures for designing
If you’re using a cardboard box, make sure that you’ve properly processed the cardboard box to make sure that it has no sharp edges. If you’re using a cereal box, empty the box and tear off the inner paper that stored the cereal.
Upon looking into the box, you must get a clear view of the inner wall of the box.
Take the white cardboard and cut a small piece that should fit the bottom of the box. Apply a bit of glue to permanently stick the cardboard onto the box. This will be the place
Draw two squared shapes on the top of the box, and slowly trace the position of the squares. This is the place where you’ll cut, but ensure that you’re keeping the middle intact. By doing this, you must end up with the top looking similar to a spectacle or binocular.
Tape the central area to securely hold it close. This will ensure that it doesn’t come off when you’re viewing through the box.
Take a piece of the heavy duty foil and cover one of the openings in the box. If you have a thin foil at your disposal, you can apply a double layer for additional protection. Next, secure the foil with tape. Make sure that you don’t cover the upper area of the foil mainly because this is the part that will project the solar eclipse onto your box.
Do not put foil on the other opening as this will be the area that you’ll be looking through.
Take a small nail and push a hole through the foil. You must observe that you’re making a very tiny hole; this is crucial for your eye safety. However, you can experiment with a number of nail sizes and diameter to find which fits you.
Cover the entire box with simple A4 paper or construction paper, leaving the openings intact. Now, you can customize your solar eclipse viewing box in the way you want it to be. This step, however, is totally optional.
To test if the box works, take it out to an open area where the sun can be seen. Point the foiled opening towards the sun and look through the opening into the cardboard. You should be able to see the sun glazing at the end of the box.
If you find the sun right in the center, you’ll be assured that you’ve done it properly. If you are unable to find the sun, try redirecting the box until the sun is seen.
Now you’re done! You can take your cardboard solar eclipse glasses with you to enjoy the enthralling celestial event that takes place in a lifetime!
How does this work?
When you’re pointing the foiled opening towards the solar eclipse, the light of the sun and the shadow is directly cast onto the opening. This enables the light to pass through the opening and onto the bottom of the cardboard. When you’re viewing through the opening, you will observe the reflection of the solar eclipse, which is totally harmless. You will also be able to notice the umbra and penumbra without having to be worried about your eyes getting damaged.
Another simple method you can use
If you’ve gone through the previous NASA eclipse glasses, these were not particularly glasses and won’t let you look directly at the solar eclipse. If you want to get a true ‘spectacle’ without having to set the coordination manually, you can surely go for the solar eclipse glasses that we will discuss now.
What you’ll need
- A large cardboard or poster board
- A design for your glasses
- Solar filter
- Blue painter’s tape
When you’re starting off to make your own solar eclipse glasses, you must at first know the size of your frame that will fit you. To do this, you can easily measure the dimensions of your head using a tape measure.
Next, draw up the template onto the cardboard or poster board maintaining the dimensions of your head. Then cut the glasses out and ensure a hollow area for your solar filters.
If you’re using an old pair of 3D glasses, you can simply pop the old lenses out so that you keep space for your solar filters.
Next, you must measure the solar film according to the size of the eye holes in your glasses. Be sure not to puncture or scratch the film because it will diminish the protective quality of the glasses. You must also make sure that you don’t cut the film too small to fit, you wouldn’t want the light to leak through the edges of your eye holes!
Secure the solar film in place with blue painter’s tape. Be careful not to cover any part of the solar film that you’ll be looking through. This will reduce your area of vision.
Now it’s the time to try out your solar eclipse glasses. Simply take your glass into bright sunlight and try to look through the glasses towards the sun. It is advised that you stare at the sun not more than three seconds and then get to a shade. If you observed yellow/orange hue, then your glasses are working perfectly. If you observe a bright color that’s unbearable to your eyes, you can be sure of the sunlight seeping through an opening. This is when you will have to repair your eclipse glasses.
At last, you’re done! You can now take your DIY solar eclipse glasses to experience the majestic celestial event that everyone wishes to see in their lifetime.
How does it work?
When you’ve put on your glasses and looking directly towards the solar eclipse, the sun’s rays will pass right through the solar film. This is where the intensity of the light (the wavelength) will be reduced to a bearable extent that won’t cause harm to your eyes.
How to buy these glasses?
If you’re someone who doesn’t have spare time or just feels lazy to know how to make glasses for the solar eclipse, you can surely buy them from your nearest local store. When buying the solar eclipse glasses, however, you will have to be extra cautious and should maintain some inspection before buying. This is mainly because if you purchase a counterfeit solar eclipse glass, you might risk your eyes getting damaged. It explains why you must not risk your safety. Let’s now go through some of the things that you should keep in mind when purchasing the solar eclipse glasses.
How to know if your eclipse glasses are safe?
- Be sure that solar eclipse glass you’ll be buying is ISO 12312-2 certified. It is an international safety standard certification for eye and skin safety.
- Inspect your solar filter before using; if it’s scratched or damaged, you must discard it.
- Ensure that the manufacturer has used high-quality solar filters.
- The solar eclipse glasses should also have a perfect fit
- There should not be any leaks whatsoever in the glasses. This is why you must have a testing before you actually purchase the product.
Where to buy these solar eclipse glasses?
You can purchase the solar eclipse from either your local store or from online (Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and others). If you’re purchasing it from your local store, you must at first call them up if they have it or not. By doing this you can make sure that you will not waste your time to find that the store doesn’t have the solar eclipse glasses that you’re looking for.
If you’re buying it from online, you must look up the user reviews in order to judge if you’re purchasing it from a trusted seller. Upon receiving the glasses, you should check the ISO 12312-2 certification and the condition of the glass before making any payment.
Which glasses have been approved?
Out of all the brands, there are some brands that have been approved by NASA and American Astronomical Society (AAS) to be safe for viewing the solar eclipse. These solar eclipse glasses are:
- American Paper Optics
- Baader Planetarium
- APM Telescopes
- Explore Scientific
- Lunt Solar Systems
- Thousand Oaks Optical
- TSE 17
- Meade Instruments
- Rainbow Symphony
- Seymour Solar
Purchasing your solar eclipse from these brands will ensure that you’ll be safe when viewing the solar eclipse without having to worry much about damaging your eyes.
How to recycle your solar eclipse glasses safely?
After experiencing this rare phenomenon in the celestial universe, you will find out that you don’t need the solar eclipse glasses at least not until for a year or so. This is when you can either store them, or you can recycle the glasses. Storing them is not a good option mainly because you will want an unscratched and unscathed solar film, and storing the solar eclipse glasses may cause scratches on the film. It explains why you can consider recycling the solar eclipse glasses. Let’s now look into the process how you can recycle solar eclipse glasses safely.
If you want to recycle, you must:
- Remove the solar filter from the frame
- Dispose of the frame
- Give the solar filter to a production house or destroy the solar filter
In case you don’t want to give it to a production house, you should ensure that you’re safely disposing of the solar eclipse glasses. Or else, you can donate the whole unit to a school or institution for future use.
Solar eclipses are one of the few celestial events that occur once in a lifetime. Experiencing this amazing phenomenon is something that not everyone gets to see, but it surely is something that you shouldn’t miss. During this event, the sun’s rays are blocked by the moon moving in between the orbit of the Sun and the Earth, creating an area of totality (total darkness).
The uniqueness and rarity of such celestial event drive people to see the phenomenon in huge numbers, and it is quite an amazing experience watching the event together with friends and family.
When watching the solar eclipse, however, you must not look into the eclipse with your naked eye. The rays of the sun may cause temporary and even permanent blindness and cause damage to your retina. This is why you need solar eclipse glasses for viewing the solar eclipse.
You can easily know how to make solar eclipse glasses without having to waste money on the glasses. If you don’t want to make the glasses, you can surely purchase the solar eclipse glasses from a verified retailer.
When buying a solar eclipse glass, you should ensure that it is ISO 12312-2 certified and has unscratched solar films. You should also ensure that the glasses have no holes or openings from which the sunlight may leak through.
Other than the solar eclipse glasses, you should ensure that you’re keeping children under supervision. If you normally use spectacles, use the spectacles to look through the solar eclipse glasses. This will ensure that your retina is safe from the intense radiation of the sun. By following these, you’ll ensure a safe and enjoyable solar eclipse watching experience!