Today, much of North America got to enjoy a rather nice-looking Solar Eclipse. Me included!
Viewing an eclipse in progress is best done using a telescope decked-out for the job. For example, at Western U such telescopes were available for public use during a special event geared to this eclipse — here’s what the eclipse looks like through one such telescope (we got 75% at “maximum” here in London, ON):
But, what if you have no such luck and would still like to catch a glimpse of the event? Here are some cool tricks virtually anyone can take advantage of the next time they find themselves in the right place and time for a Solar Eclipse:
Using your phone’s camera:
It’s a bit tricky, but one can achieve some fairly good results when done properly. Basically, you use your phone’s camera to take an “indirect picture” of the eclipse. If you point your phone’s camera directly at the sun (this is the tricky part, because you need to angle your phone without also looking upwards lest you accidentally look directly at the sun), at the proper angle you should see a disk-like “reflection” in your image hovering near the sun itself. Depending on how far along the eclipse is, the reflection should appear as if it has a “bite” taken out of it; this is the eclipse! Here’s an example of what I’m talking about here:
The hand-made “pinhole camera” method:
Using your hand, make an “almost-fist” with it such that the sun’s light can still pass through the gap in your fist and onto the ground below. During the eclipse, it should appear as if a crescent-shape of light is cast onto the ground behind your fist. Below is an example (this method’s comparatively less tricky, since you don’t need to avoid looking up in order to ensure a good result):
If you happen to own a telescope of some kind…:
If you own a telescope, but not the resources/know-how to set it up for an eclipse then fear not! Your as-is telescope is still sufficient so long as you also own a square of cardboard. Using the cardboard, orient your telescope towards the sun (again, don’t use your own eyes!); once properly oriented, the disk should show up on the cardboard — hopefully being occluded by the Moon! If your telescope has a pinhole lens attachment, installing that to your telescope should make the resulting image clearer.