How to Make a Pinhole Camera for Friday's Solar Eclipse and Not Go 'Selfie Blind'

By Matt Hill on at

You know a solar eclipse is on its way when the news is littered with Christian pastors warning of the end of the world and nice academics pointing out the basic common sense rules of eyesight to the public at large.

And this week has been no different, with the College of Optometrists warning the BBC about 'selfie blindness' ahead of Friday's sun blackout, that apparently newly stupid act of people looking directly at the sun to line themselves up so it's all nicely framed behind them in their smartphone snaps.

Unsurprisingly, this is not a good idea.

"When taking selfies, it would be easy to keep glancing back over your shoulder to make sure everything is aligned," clinical adviser Daniel Hardiman-McCartney told the Beeb. "In 1999, when there was the last major eclipse, no one really had smartphones or took selfies."

We guess he has a point, but everyone still learns how to not singe their retinas by making pinhole projectors at school as a mandatory part of their education, no?

Do schools even have paper anymore? You certainly can't do that on a tablet.

Anyway, the sun's big cover-up is supposed to run from around 8.20am to 10.40am in the UK this morning, peaking at 9.30am-ish depending on where you are. The best viewing point will be in Scotland, which will have up to 98 per cent visibility, falling as you go down the country to a low of 85 per cent in London and the South East.

And in case you've forgotten how to view it sensibly and come out of the whole experience not permanently scarred, here's a classic video from Life’s Little Mysteries’ Natalie Wolchover explaining how to pinhole-camera it like a boss using a shoebox and your typical Blue Peter set of domestic paraphernalia.

Or, y'know, watch it on telly? We have amazing technology these days…