Vancouver Eclipse Viewing

Vancouverites were treated to an almost 90% eclipse of the sun today. Two of my colleagues and I played hooky for an hour or so this morning to visit the park and check out the phenomenon.

My eclipse mindset got a kick-start this morning when I saw Fatima’s post at Stacks and Ranges. Her Music Monday featured Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” written by Jim Steinman. This was running through my head all morning! Incidentally, Bonnie Tyler sang the song today on a Royal Caribbean cruise as it sailed through the path of totality. Time Magazine reports that today “Tyler’s song rose to the number one spot on Apple’s iTunes charts”!

With safe eclipse-viewing glasses being completely sold out and fakes on Amazon abounding, my colleagues and I instead tried a few homegrown methods to watch the sun become eclipsed.

  • There was the full cardboard box viewer over the head — quite a look! A small hole in a piece of tin foil projected a reasonable image on the back of the box.
  • Highly recommended came the cereal-box viewer, with an eye-hole cut into one corner and a pierced piece of tin foil on the next. Again a pretty good projection.
  • One of my colleagues tried filming the sun over his shoulder with an unfiltered cell phone camera, but the sun was so bright that it was just a massive ball of light, regardless of where it was in the eclipse progression.

Pinhole ProjectorI resorted to the old-school pinhole projector to safely watch the action. Simple and inexpensive, this was perhaps the best result we achieved, maybe because the pinhole was smoother in paper than in foil. The paper with the pinhole in it essentially acts as a lens, inverting the image and projecting it on the piece of paper used as the screen.

A couple of friendly fellow park-goers were nice enough to let us take a look through the viewers they bought in Singapore, and sure enough, my projected image was the upside-down version of the direct image, but looking like the moon instead of the sun! Here are a couple of pictures I took of the image projected on the “screen”.

CBC has posted a 56 second time-lapsed direct view of the eclipse from Vancouver here.

This afternoon, I received a really inventive marketing email that made me laugh — way to capitalize on the natural phenomenon!

Junk Eclipse

And finally, the song I’ve been singing since our excursion to the park this morning is Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”.

16 thoughts on “Vancouver Eclipse Viewing

  1. It was 84% here, but we didn’t try to view it. I was surprised at how light it was outside even so, but my ex the physicist informed me that the eye’s capacity to perceive light is measured logarithmically, i.e., 85% is really still very light out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. we used a pair of bird watching binoculars, held in hand to let the light shine through onto a piece of white paper clipped to a clip board. it was a very sharp image! we could even see the clouds passing over. I was bummed that it didn’t get as dark as I expected (I’m in central Indiana, US), just looked/felt like a storm was coming in. the shadows through the leaves on the trees were trippy, though 🙂


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