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Make a Pinhole Projector to View Transit of Venus (Photos)

Some tips on how to watch today's transit of Venus safely, including making this simple D.I.Y. pinhole projector.

There are many ways to watch today's , but all should be done safely.

Public Relations Manager of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Christine Douglass recommends watching the transit at a planetarium or a program by a university astronomy department or by visiting NASA's website for the live-streaming broadcast.

However, if you want to go the do-it-yourself route, you can make a  pinhole camera.Los Altos Patch editor L.A. Chung explains how she made the following, simple pinhole projector:

There are variations on this. You can make it out of a long, narrow box. We went for no-fuss. It's the principle that matters here:

  1. We cut up a recycled cookie box into two pieces.
  2. We cut a square hole in it (why square? Who knows?)
  3. We covered it with aluminum foil.
  4. We poked a pin through the foil.
  5. And then we took it outside for a test drive.

You can follow along with the pictures. We got all the materials from the stuff in our recycling bags. Your results may vary.

Have fun! That's the point.

What not to do is look at the sun with something that you heard will work, says Professor Andrew Fraknoi, chair of Foothill College's Astronomy Department:

"Sunglasses, exposed film, and smoked glass are NOT OK! If you have access to welder’s supplies (and not many people do), #14 arc-welder’s glass is an excellent filter (but it has to be #14 and not lower numbers). Or you can use special black or aluminized polymer filters/glasses available at many telescope stores or planetaria; make sure you get them from a reliable source."

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