How to View the Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017


How to View the Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017

As eclipses go, this one is perfect for the USA.

It literally cuts across the entire country, starting on the west coast in Oregon and leaving on the east coast through South Carolina. Not everyone gets a total eclipse, but we can all see a partial one, right from our own backyards, or from a nearby park. The next solar eclipse doesn’t come back to the U.S. until 2024, and then not again until after 2040, which means your kids won’t be kids anymore. So here is our chance!

Safely View the Eclipse

Safety is paramount, especially for kids, and teaching them good safety is as important as experiencing the actual eclipse. Plus, it is easy to be safe, and basically free.

With our kids, we can take two piece of paper—one with a pinhole cut into it—and the second as a surface to show the light through the hole which will be the image of the sun. This is essentially a “pinhole camera”.

Here are the steps:

  • Use a pin and make a small hole at about the center of one piece of paper - this is the "camera"
  • Hold the camera up to the sun—without looking at the sun of course
  • Position the second, clean piece of paper behind the camera as a projection surface
  • Slowly move the second paper closer or farther from the first until the image is in focus

Have a few extra pieces of paper to try changing the size of the hole if you want. We found that making the hole 2-3 times larger than the pin itself made a nice sized image of the sun if you hold the pieces of paper about 3-4 feet apart. A bigger hole makes a bigger image, but then the two pieces of paper will need to be farther apart—with a big hole a parent might need hold the “camera” paper over their head while the projection surface paper is on the ground.

It is a good idea to practice this weekend so you get the hang of what to do before the eclipse actually happens on Monday.

Korean Eclipse Mythology

In Korean mythology, eclipses are formed when the 불 개 (Bul-Gae) or fire dogs of the underworld try to capture the sun (or moon) and bring their light to the underworld. However, the sun is too hot, and the moon is too cold for the dog, who returns home without the light. The solar eclipse we see is the dog biting the sun. As with many myths, similarities can be seen in many other cultures. This one is similar to myths in Nordic, Slavic and Hindu cultures.

We also wrote last year about the Korean myth Sister Sun Brother Moon which is similar to an Inuit myth where sister and brother are the sun and the moon, and when they play in the sky and catch one another, an eclipse is formed.

Take Photos of your “Pinhole Camera”

If you make a “camera” and try it, we’d love to see your eclipse images. Go on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and post your images with the hashtag #Doogaji and #SolarEclipse2017, and we will share them to our channels.

Have fun and stay safe!

PS The next eclipse in Korea will be a lunar eclipse, on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.

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