No eclipse glasses? No problem! Create your own viewer with your smart phone, a large cereal box, razor blade, scissors, and maybe some tape, and you can look "directly" at the sun!
Step 1: This Doesn't Work
You're still facing the sun and the screen brightness on your phone cannot compete. I thought of using the selfie camera so I could turn my back on the sun and shoot the camera over my shoulder, but I tested it and found that a bright sunny day made the screen unreadable.
Step 2: This Does
Block out the sun and use your phone camera to make a splendid real-time viewer. Follow these steps to create your own.
Step 3: Cut Slit for Phone
- Find large cereal box or other appropriately sized box. I would think some shipping boxes would work well.
- Cut slit in bottom of box, about half inch, just enough so your phone can squeeze through.
Step 4: Push Phone Through Opening From the Inside
- Put phone inside box
- Gently force out of slit so camera is outside box facing down.
It doesn't have to fit perfectly. My phone is a little wider than the box bottom; it still works. Remove phone for now.
Step 5: Reinforce Box Bottom
Reinforce box bottom with tape. This is non-essential, but recommended. You don't want your viewer falling apart at the critical moment. Silver tape is what I had handy. Duct tape, black tape, etc. would work as well or better.
Step 6: Cut V-shaped Opening
- Cut V-shaped opening in box top.
- Place over face and test it to see if it fits properly and blocks light.
Step 7: Load Camera in Box
- Activate camera view screen.
- Carefully insert phone through opening so camera faces forward.
- Squeeze box open and fit over head.
- Hold phone in place with left hand, or flip if you prefer using your right hand.
Step 8: Test It
Here is a view of sun on cell phone screen. Test it in full sun.
- First, look directly at sun without viewer. You can't. That's as it should be.
- Now place viewer over face and view image of sun on your phone screen
Step 9: View Eclipse!
Now, go view the eclipse!
Note: pointing your camera at the sun will not hurt the camera. Don't take my word for it; look it up.
However, if you're concerned about it or just tired of looking up, switch the camera to selfie mode and look down with camera shooting over your shoulder.
Step 10: Enhancement: Use Toothpick or Skewer to Secure the Phone
A friend had the clever idea to use an over-sized toothpick to hold phone in place. I had bamboo skewers on hand.
- Put phone in place for measurement.
- From inside box, use point of knife to poke holes at appropriate height or at least mark the spot.
- Secure skewer in place with rubberband.
- Clip off excess wood.
You can also cut a thumb hole in bottom to snap pics.