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Make a Solar Eclipse Projector

solar eclipse with clouds
By Shifa Hussain, 16
CAGIS Teen Ambassador

Are you excited for the solar eclipse? I know I am! A solar eclipse is a special phenomenon when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow over a portion of the Earth’s surface. On April 8, parts of Canada will experience a total solar eclipse! You can learn more about eclipses here

As cool as it sounds, it’s incredibly dangerous to actually look at a solar eclipse with the naked eye. Though the Sun may appear to be blocked by the Moon, the radiation is enough to cause damage to the eye. Never fear, though! There are safe ways to enjoy the solar eclipse. I plan on making a solar eclipse projector.

Here’s how to make one, yourself. 

Materials Needed: 
  1. An empty cereal box, or other similar size and shape cardboard box  
  2. Aluminum foil
  3. Tape, preferably duct tape or masking tape
  4. A pin or toothpick
  5. Scissors
  6. A sheet of white paper
  1. Trace the bottom of the cereal box onto a white piece of paper and cut the shape.
  2. Tape this piece of paper along the inside bottom of the cereal box.
  3. Cut a rectangular hole out of each corner of the top of the cereal box. Each hole should be about five cm long.
  4. The top of your cereal box should still have two cardboard flaps in the centre. Close these flaps and tape them together. 
  5. Cover one hole with a single layer of aluminum foil. Tape the aluminum foil in place.
  6. Poke the foil with your pin or toothpick to create a tiny hole in the centre of the foil. 
  7. Leave the other rectangular hole uncovered.
cereal box projector
cereal box projector
Now it’s time to use your eclipse projector. 
  1. Stand with your back facing the Sun! 
  2. Hold the projector up to your face and look through the uncovered hole to peer at the white sheet of paper inside the cereal box. Do not look directly at the Sun.
  3. You should see an image of the Sun projected onto the paper!!
how to use a solar eclipse projector
Illustration of a solar eclipse projector. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

This solar eclipse will be an exciting and memorable experience, but you must take proper precautions to protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the Sun. Never look directly at the Sun! 

With that in mind, you can still have a stellar time by creating your own homemade projector.

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