The Parklands

How To: Make a Solar Viewer

How-to: Make a Solar Viewer

On Monday, August 21, from 12:00pm-4:00pm, The Parklands of Floyds Fork will host a solar eclipse viewing party at the PNC Achievement Center in Beckley Creek Park. Parklands staff will be on hand to lead craft activities and demonstrations, including how to make your own solar viewing device for this incredible celestial event!

During the upcoming Great American Solar Eclipse, it will be extremely important to protect your eyes while witnessing this amazing natural event.

NEVER look directly at the sun without proper eye protection!

How can you view the eclipse safely?

The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as the ones found in “eclipse glasses”. Here in Louisville the sun will be 96% occluded (nearly true totality) so be sure to wear your solar glasses at all times!

Can’t make it to The Parklands on eclipse day? You can use everyday materials to create your own solar viewers!

  1. Cut out a slot at the bottom of the toilet paper roll – 1 inch high and 1 inch wide.
  2. Cut a square out of the white paper a little bigger than the diameter of your paper tube. Tape the paper over the end of the tube with the slot. You will view the sun on the inside surface of the paper.
  3. Cut a square out of the aluminum foil a little bigger than the diameter of your paper tube. Tape the aluminum foil over the other end of the tube. Smooth down the sides of the foil to get a tight fit across the top of the tube.
  4. With the push pin put a tiny hole in the aluminum foil right at the center of the tube. The sunlight will go through this hole. 

Viewing Instructions

  1. Take your tube outside to a sunny spot.
  2. Hold the tube so the aluminum foil side is pointed toward the sun and so you can see inside the slot at the bottom. (see photo)
  3. Look at your shadow on the ground and adjust the tube until its shadow completely disappears. Move it around gently until you see the disk of the sun come into view.
  4. Enjoy this truly spectacular celestial event!


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About the Author

Picture of Curtis Carman

Curtis Carman

As Director of Education, Curtis Carman oversees The Parklands Outdoor Classroom, promoting STEAM-based education through engaging, hands-on learning both outdoors and inside the classroom. Each year, his team of Education Specialists, Interpretive Rangers and Camp Counselors guide nearly 20,000 participants of all ages through school field trips, camps, Parklands Explorer, Junior Explorer and Wednesday Wonders. Prior to his promotion to Education Director in May of 2018, Curtis first joined The Parklands team as an Interpretive Ranger and led the department as Education Coordinator for three years. A native of Louisville and a graduate of Ballard High School, Curtis returned to his hometown after having worked as an environmental educator in Maine and Colorado at Acadia and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Curtis also served as Membership Manager at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. Curtis enjoys hiking, biking, camping and kayaking.