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How to make your own pinhole camera to watch the eclipse

Make your own eclipse projector using just two pieces of paper and a pin. KPCC shows you how!
Riley Beggin and Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Make your own eclipse projector using just two pieces of paper and a pin. KPCC shows you how!

On Monday, the sun will pass behind the moon in the first total coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years. While Angelenos won’t see the moon completely block out the sun (the so-called “path of totality”), they will be able to see about 70 percent of it covered.

This rare event is getting plenty of people excited. But it is crucial that sun-gazers take some important steps to protect their eyes during the event, because staring directly at the eclipse can do irreversible damage.

If you didn’t get your hands on a pair of those special eclipse glasses, have no fear — you can make your own eclipse viewer with our printable template.

Pinhole cameras are a way of watching the eclipse without staring directly at the sun. They cast a shadow on the ground with a small hole in the middle. When the moon goes over the sun, a coinciding shadow will cover up your projection on the ground. And voila, you can see the eclipse!

How to make a pinhole camera for the 2017 eclipse

Step 1: Download KPCC’s two-page pinhole projector here or at the bottom of the page. Print it out: we have color and greyscale. You’ll also need a pin.

Step 2: Poke a hole in your paper using the pin. Make sure it’s round and smooth. Or, create your own patterns by poking several holes.

Step 3: Stand with the sun behind you. Don’t peek at it!

Step 4: Place your projection paper on the ground.

Step 5: Position your pinhole to cast a shadow on the projection paper. If you stand far away, the image will be large and blurry. If you stand close up, it will be small and sharp.

Step 6: Get ready! The maximum eclipse in Southern California is at 10:21 a.m.

Step 7: Snap a picture of your projection or your friends and family making their pinhole cameras and share it with #LAeclipse and tag us @KPCC.

If you're having trouble viewing the pages below, you can download the color and the greyscale version of the camera here.