2023 Annular Solar Eclipse Viewing

by Kevin Shank and Lester Showalter | Aug 1, 2023 | 0 comments

When?
Saturday, October 14, 2023. Annularity reaches Oregon’s Pacific coast at about 9:13 a.m. PDT, and moves southeast, exiting into the Gulf of Mexico off the shores of Texas at 12:03 p.m. CDT.

Where?
All of North and Central America, and the majority of South America, will experience either a partial or total annular eclipse.

What?
An annular darkening of the Sun as the Moon passes in front of it. During an annular eclipse, the Moon does not appear quite as large as the Sun. This is because the Moon is farther from Earth than it is during a total eclipse. So, during annularity, there will still be a “ring of fire” around the Moon.
The farther one is from the path of annularity, the smaller “bite” will be taken out of the Sun.

How?
Several ways to safely view an annular solar eclipse:

  • Solar Sunglasses. These are cardboard-frame glasses with solar film lenses that enable you to watch the Sun safely. Before using them, make certain nothing has damaged the film lenses.
  • Welding helmets with shade 13 or 14.
  • Solar binoculars. Solar binoculars have filtration built into them that makes them safe for viewing the Sun. The models we sell are ten power. The size of the Sun will compare to the size of the full moon when viewed with a ten power binocular. This is enough power to see sunspots when they are present. Before looking at the Sun, look at another light source and make certain no light is visible due to damage in the filtration. You can’t be too careful when preparing to look at the Sun, especially when it is magnified, as an unfiltered view will result in blindness.
  • Pinhole projection.

To make a pinhole projector, you will need a deep box or long tube, aluminum foil, tape, and white cardboard.
There is an optimal size for the pinhole in relation to the length between it and the cardboard screen where the Sun will be projected. Here are several optimal measurements.

Length from pinhole to screen:
1000 mm (39⅜”) 2000 mm (78¾”)

Pinhole size:
1.2 mm (3/64”) 1.7 mm (1/16”)

Approximate projected Sun size:
8.7 mm (3/8”) 18 mm (11/16”)

You can tape several boxes together to achieve your chosen depth, but first of all tape or glue a white shiny cardboard or paper to the inside of the bottom box making up your tube. Tape the tube solidly so no light gets in any cracks anywhere. The top box should be inverted so light does not enter the tube except through your pinhole.

To make the pinhole, begin by cutting a two-inch hole out of the cardboard in the center of the box. Over this hole, tape aluminum foil. You will make your pinhole in the aluminum foil.

You will now add a viewing hole near the bottom of the projector so you can see the Sun on the screen. On the side of the box, make a viewing hole big enough to see the entire paper but not any bigger. You will want to keep the inside of the box as dark as possible. To achieve this at the viewing hole, make a viewing channel at an angle as seen in the drawing.

pinhole projector for viewing solar eclipse

Build this pinhole projector far enough ahead of the solar eclipse that you can practice viewing the projected Sun with it. Point the box toward the Sun with the pinhole at the top. While looking into the viewing channel, move the projector around until you can see the Sun projected on the white paper.

This is a very safe way to see the solar eclipse. You are looking down to see the Sun that is up. That way you will not accidently have the Sun shine in your eyes. Never look directly at the Sun. That is very harmful to your eyes and can even cause blindness.

To order solar sunglasses, solar binoculars, solar filters, or solar telescopes, please call Nature Friend, 1-540-867-0764.

2023 and 2024 solar eclipse paths

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