Students make eclipse veiwers


Colby Menefee

Earlier this week, the United States was plunged into darkness by a solar eclipse. Chemistry teacher Patrice Cox helped students made solar viewers to help students safely watch the eclipse.

“They’re very easy to make,” Cox said. “All you need is a pinhole to sharpen and project the sun and something to view the projections on. We used foil for the pinhole because it has smooth edges, and cardboard boxes because they were easy to find.”

Cox said she was inspired to make the viewers after being unable to locate eclipse glasses.

“We started working on the viewers a couple of weeks in advance,” Cox said. “I looked for eclipse glasses about a month beforehand, but they were all sold out. I still wanted students to be able to see the eclipse since they don’t happen very often, and I certainly didn’t want students to try to view the eclipse in an unsafe way,  so I searched the internet for other options. That’s where I got the idea for the viewers.”

Chemistry students helped make the viewers and helped show other students how to correctly use the viewers.

“We helped Ms. Cox put the viewers together,” sophomore Mollie Dittmar said. “I helped tape instructions onto the boxes.”

Sophomore Rayna Ramirez waits her turn for one of the homemade solar eclipse viewers. Science teacher Patrice Cox helped students make their own viewers for the event. Menefee photo

During lunch, Journalism students helped students make smaller versions of the projectors since the number of large viewers was limited.

“There were lots of students and it was really chaotic, because people weren’t following directions,” Senior Kaiden Loep said. “It was important for us to make sure they got it right so they didn’t blind themselves.”

Total solar eclipses don’t happen very often. Any given location will typically only experience one eclipse every 400 years. Texas will have another eclipse in 2024.

“It was very interesting to see such a rare event,” Dittmar said. “I was glad we had the viewers so we could experience the eclipse.”