In home gadgets you can use to help view the solar eclipse

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Each passing day is getting us closer and closer to the total solar eclipse. It’s been something that astronomers and space lovers have been looking forward to for years.

On August 21st, a strip, about 70 miles wide across the United States will see a total solar eclipse. Buffalo won’t be so lucky but we will be able to see a partial eclipse.

Mark Percy, Planetarium Director for the Williamsville School District, told News 4, “It will start a little bit after 1 o clock in the afternoon where a very little bit of the sun will be covered by the edge of the moon. The maximum eclipse is at about 2:30 in the afternoon.”

And that will be the most impressive time frame here in Buffalo! It will include 77 percent coverage of the sun! After that, things will start to move in the opposite direction, lighting up.

Percy said, “Then the moon will begin to move off the surface of the sun and finally leave it at a little bit before 4 o clock in the afternoon.”

That will allow for a little over 2 hours of something to look at in the sky. If you want to go somewhere locally to view the eclipse magnified there are a couple of spots you can go to do so. Percy shared with News 4 those locations. He said, “Buffalo State College, the museum of science, the Penn Dixie Corey, and Calvin Krueger park up in Wilson. Those are the places to go if you want to see a magnified version of the sun and do so safely.”

Without the special tools these locations have, you will be able to see a little bite taken out of the sun, but it will not be as dramatic. To enhance your view using gadgets you have at home, there are a few things you can do.

Percy explains how. He says, “Start with a piece of cardboard. Cut out a small area and then cover that with aluminum foil that’s taped in place. That will allow you a nice small pin hole which will allow for a clean projection.”

Another thing you can do that’s even simpler involves a small cosmetic mirror and a paper envelope. Percy says, “Put the envelope over the mirror and you can set it in a bucket of rice or sand to keep it in place. What will happen is the sunlight will bounce off the mirror onto a white board or wall and it will be a nice big satisfying projection of the sun.”

For more information on things you can do to prepare for the eclipse click here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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