FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 10, 1998
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Glenn A. Walsh (412) 561-7876 or

Safe Way to View a Solar Eclipse - Make a Viewing Box:

Instructions for Making a Solar Pinhole Viewing Box

Illustration: Creating a Solar Pinhole Viewing Box

Carnegie, Pa., Feb. 10 - Safe public viewing, of a February 26 eclipse of the Sun, will be offered free-of-charge at Library Park, outside of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library, 300 Beechwood Avenue in Carnegie Borough. Using the safe projection technique, a telescope will be used to show the partial solar eclipse from 12:25 to 1:53 p.m. Maximum eclipse will occur at 1:09 p.m. when 7.4 percent of the Sun will be covered by the northern portion of the Moon.

A rarity of nature, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves directly in front of the Sun, blocking all or some sunlight from shining on part of the Earth. All sunlight is blocked by the Moon during a total eclipse of the Sun; on February 26, this will occur on the northern tip of South America, in the Carribean, and in a small part of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The eastern and southern regions of the United States will experience a partial solar eclipse, when only part of the Sun's light is blocked by the Moon.

NEVER look directly at the Sun or a solar eclipse with a telescope or binoculars. This would cause PERMANENT BLINDNESS INSTANTLY! On February 26, the telescope at Library Park will project the image of the solar eclipse onto a portable movie screen, for safe viewing. Observing the Sun, with a telescope, should only be attempted by people who have received the proper training. Solar observing, in Library Park, will be supervised by former Buhl Planetarium lecturer, Glenn A. Walsh.

NEVER look directly at the Sun or a solar eclipse with your unaided eye. This could cause MAJOR EYE DAMAGE and POSSIBLE BLINDNESS! Eye damage can occur rapidly, without any pain, since there are no nerves in the eyes.

A safe way to view the eclipse is by obtaining a box, larger than your head, or two pieces of cardboard. Place a small pinhole in one end of the box, or in one piece of cardboard. Standing with your back to the Sun, allow the sunlight to shine through the pinhole onto the other end of the box(with your head covered by the box and your eyes looking toward the end of the box without the pinhole), or onto the second piece of cardboard, where you will see a small image of the solar eclipse.

For further questions about safely viewing a Solar Eclipse, telephone the Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium and Observatory at The Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh: (412) 237-3397.

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library opened as the fourth free public library, constructed and endowed by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, on May 1, 1901. In addition to a Library, the cultural complex includes a 780-seat Music Hall(patterned after Carnegie Hall in New York City), 140-seat Lecture Hall, Civil War Museum, and discount bookstore.


TO CONSTRUCT SOLAR PINHOLE BOX: To safely view a solar eclipse, prepare a box with a pinhole (perhaps in aluminum foil covering a larger hole in the box) at one end and a white sheet of paper at the other. Standing with your back to the Sun and your head inside the box, allow the Sun's light to shine through the pinhole and observe a small image of the solar eclipse on the white sheet of paper. NEVER look through the pinhole at the Sun; this could cause MAJOR EYE DAMAGE and POSSIBLE BLINDNESS.


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