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I would like to watch the solar eclipse tomorrow, however I do not have sun-view glasses.

I know this question has already been asked for office supplies here, the only answer so far is the pinhole thing. I wonder if there is a better solution for that using home supplies so I can actually watch the sun through home-made glasses or something I can hold in front of my face.

Do you have any hacks on how to make sun-view glasses?


Oh darn... It was too cloudy to watch it at all. Thanks for the answers though. Now I know what to do in 2021!

  • Oh, I almost voted to close this, before I even read your entire question. I think it's ok to ask it again this way, since you actually want something you can hold in front of your face. – Alex Mar 19 '15 at 15:04
  • Yes I surely hope so, I think the pinhole thing is not enough and hoped there were more options since I am not limited to office supplies. – MissRarity Mar 19 '15 at 15:08
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If you happen to be a bit of a welder - you can use shade 14 welder's glass which is basically a neutral density filter which will be enough protection for your eyes from the Sun's glare. This sort of material is usually available from some hardware stores and it can always be obtained online if not (I would add a link to somewhere you could get it but I would get a telling off so just Google "#14 Welder's Glass") - it is by far the cheapest alternative compared to professional filters and other such things.

You will have to make sure that the glass completely covers both of your eyes while you are viewing the Sun in order to avoid permanent damage to them.
You could get away with stacking a few lighter shades of welder's glass on top of each other and viewing through them as the lighter ones are sometimes more commonly available than #14. (Note: It is probably safe to use down to shade 12 Welder's Glass, but I wouldn't over expose my eyes to the Sun if you opt for going slightly lower than #14)

You can even place the glass over your binocular lenses so you can have a zoomed view of the Sun.

  • Unfortunately I do not have access to welder's glass nor a hardware store. Thanks a lot for the answer though! – MissRarity Mar 20 '15 at 8:59
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Even as now the solar eclipse is over I want to post an answer :) Please note, that it is extreamly dangerous to look into the sun directly, as it (the UV light) may damage your eyes irreparably.

It is recommended by all officials to NOT! use smoked glass or even welders glass (under #14), rescue blankets, CDs, X-rays or anything improvised. The risk of damaging or losing your sight is always there.

It is only recommended to use good specs made with the special filter foil or with a digital camera while using the screen (as @Izzo worte).

Perhaps, if you are a hobby astronomer or photographer, you might have the special filter foil you use to look at the sun with a telescope or camera to take good pictures of the sun at home. These filter foils are also availble in photographer shops. https://astrosolar.com/en/information/how-to/how-to-make-your-own-objective-solar-filter-for-your-camera-or-telescope/ I hope this link is okay. It`s a producer but also an astrolab and they have some building instructions. e.g. how to change a binocular using foil.

Otherwise just use a live stream :)

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You can use your smartphone to watch it, but only if it has a front camera. Use the front camera, and turn your back to the sun. You can then safely watch the sun on your screen and can even record it for viewing pleasure again and again. Do not use the rear / main camera on your phone unless you are wearing solar glasses, while the camera doesn't have retinas that could be damaged by the Sun's rays, your eyes still could be as you'll be facing towards the Sun to take any pictures / videos.

Sorry if you actually are interested in making some sort of glasses, but this tip might help some people.

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    I was actually interested in making glasses, but I have not been able to, because the smoked glass thing is unsafe, and I can't get my hands on welder's glass. Thank you for this, while it's not the perfect solution, it makes me able to watch it -sorta- :) – MissRarity Mar 20 '15 at 9:01
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Some reflective coated polyester wrap ("mylar") has a metallic coating thin enough to faintly see light through. If you can just barely make out a bright light bulb through a single layer, it's as dark as the recommended welding filter.

Failing that, make a small pinhole in a sheet of opaque material, and use it to project a solar image on a piece of white paper. This image can be viewed safely in either an eclipse, or when the sun is unobscured (as for counting sunspots -- possible with the right setup and enough projection distance).

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I don't know if I should use this method or not, but I was thinking you could take a peice of a CD and paint thin coats of dark blue or black nail polish or paint on it until the shade was dark enough (go outside and view the sun to see if it is dark enough, meaning the ssun would come up orange, and the only thing you could see)and then attach it to your glasses,cardboard or what ever you are using.WARNING:NOT RECOMMENDED,JUST A THOUGHT IN MIND!!!

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    This would simply refract the sunlight a bit and is just plain dangerous. This idea was common - and was debunked - just prior to the 1999 total eclipse over Europe. – Chenmunka Aug 17 '17 at 7:30
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Back when I was in Jr high, we used tinfoil and toilet paper tubes, and made our own in science class

Edit: Take two empty toilet paper rolls. Use a rubber band to cover one end of one with wax paper. Use another rubber band to cover one end of the 2nd one with aluminum foil. Use a pin to poke a tiny hole in the foil, then you tape them so it goes roll | paper end | 2nd roll | foil end... then you point the foil end toward the sun and look through the open end. You can see the light on the wax paper. I found pic...

sun viewer construction

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    Could you edit this to explain more about how you actually made them? – michaelpri Aug 15 '17 at 13:17
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Smoked glass. Take a piece of flat glass and a candle, wave the glass around in the candle flame so that black carbon soot is deposited on it. Make a thick, uniform coating (you may have to let it cool a few times and make sure to wear safety gloves to protect your hands and fingers - better yet, use a pair of tongs to hold the glass), and test it until it blocks enough sunlight.

  • This sounds very hacky and interesting. Could you add some details on what you mean by until it blocks enough sunlight? Maybe you even have some pictures available? – Alex Mar 20 '15 at 7:29
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    I looked further into this and saw on many websites (including NASA) this is unsafe, unfortunately. – MissRarity Mar 20 '15 at 8:57
  • Downvoted because this is unsafe. You risk blindness when you get it wrong and don't make the glass dark enough. And the layer of soot on the glass is delicate, every time you touch the glass you will remove soot and make the glass lighter. – Hobbes Nov 13 '15 at 20:24

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