How to View the Solar Eclipse without Glasses


For those of you old enough to remember the last total solar eclipse on February 26, 1979 do you remember how you viewed it? I am amazed that I can actually remember watching the reflection of the eclipse on the bottom of a shoebox. We made pinhole projection viewers in school and then during the eclipse went out onto the playground and watched the eclipse safely.

I have no recollection as to whether there were glasses available back then the way they are now. Without Amazon or even the internet to know about them let alone purchase the item, I would imagine that the shoebox was an easy, affordable tool for us to see the eclipse without glasses. I still do not have glasses and although I could easily find a shoebox and a video on YouTube to re-teach me how to build a pinhole projector, I plan to go out and enjoy the experience without such tools and not look at the sun.

When the eclipse happens here in the Flathead Valley there will be about an 87% eclipse—a pretty high percentage. If the skies are clear of clouds and smoke, we’ll experience a mid-day shadow between 10:16 a.m. and 12:51 p.m. with the peak at 11:31 a.m.

Now I do not normally look at the sun, yet I do look out at the peaks of Glacier and the expanse of the Flathead Valley from our perch at the top Big Mountain’s summit. When I read that the eclipse here will be substantial enough that it will cast a pretty neat shadow across the valley and surrounding mountains my first thought was that I would head to the summit.

While many will look at the sun though glasses, and some may makes those pinhole cameras, I will be looking down at the valley and around at the horizon. Some are likening the eclipse to a “360-degree sunset” which will be an exciting thing to witness. I’m eager to see how the eclipse effects the familiar surroundings from our summit and add it to the list: sunrise, sunset, inversion, fata morgana and now eclipse!

We’ll be running Chair 1 early on Monday, August 21, and will start loading the public at 9:15 am.

Wherever you experience the eclipse, be safe and enjoy!
How to build a pinhole camera.
More fun effects of the eclipse.