Safe Ways to View The Transit of Venus
Here are some safe methods to allow you to view the transit of Venus without risking damage to your eyes.
Today is the last chance to wittness a rare astronomical event, the transit of Venus, for 105 years. While the event is considered viewable with the “naked eye”, you do NOT want to try just looking up at the sun. So what safe methods are availble to view this phenomenon?
The safest method is by using a pinhole camera. This is a simple device that projects an image onto a surface, allowing you to see it without looking directly at it. For those with younger children it can make a great “teachable moment,” as it only takes a few minutes to build and the odds are you already have everything around the house that you need. If you aren’t familiar with the idea of a pinhole camera, here is a short video to show you how to make one: Pinhole Camera Instructions
Another similar option is to use a small telescope or a pair of binoculars mounted on a tripod to project the image onto a white piece of paper. Remember though, DO NOT look through the telescope or binoculars while they are pointed at the sun.
These two ideas are safer, indirect viewing methods. For those who would rather have a more direct view, a welder’s helmet or mask with #13 or #14 lens will allow you to take a safe peek. Aluminized Mylar, available at some astronomy supply dealers, will also work. And if they are available in your area, “eclipse glasses” (which look somewhat like the old red/blue 3D glasses) are also acceptable.
Remember, if you have any questions about the safety of the viewing method you have chosen, ask someone. If no one is available, try something else. Don’t take chances with your eyes, they are the only ones you get.