3 Cheap Ways To View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely

By now you’ve probably heard about the 2017 solar eclipse happening in the United States on Monday, August 21. It’s the first total eclipse of the sun for a long time so it’s kinda a big deal. Here are 3 cheap ways to view the 2017 solar eclipse safely.

Hi there, parents.

Maybe you are prepared and have a plan for viewing the eclipse with your kids.

Or maybe you are like me and totally NOT prepared. Glasses? Viewers? Whaaat?

Cheap Ways To View the 2017 Solar Eclipse safely

Solar eclipse of 29.04.2006 taken in Turkey by Kurt Kulac

It’s cool, it doesn’t make us bad parents. It just means we were totally unaware/unprepared for a defining moment in our children’s lives.

Let’s be honest: it’s not the first (or the last) time, amirite?

Don’t worry: I’ve got you covered with some cheap (possibly free) last minute ways to view the 2017 solar eclipse.

And you don’t even have to hit up Pinterest for these ideas, y’all.

You are welcome.


Cheap Ways To View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely

If you need to bone up on your eclipse science, head over to NASA and check out the Eclipse 101 (for dummies– emphasis mine) page.

Fascinating stuff!

I don’t remember what happened in 1979, but my eyes still work so I’m guessing I did not stare into the eclipse. I mean, my eyes are bad, but they work well enough that I think I managed to survive that one.

For Monday, I’ve figured out some cheap, last-minute options that could work for safely viewing the sky that day.

ps- pets will not be harmed and you can go outside during the eclipse.

You just don’t want to look directly at the event as it happens which is where the following options could help you out if you didn’t score any viewing glasses.

Like me. Ahem


1. Build a Box Fort

One of my science friends on Facebook shared this brilliant, low cost, low effort option.

Little kids love a good box fort. Okay, so big kids like me do too!


2. Hit Up Your Kitchen

Do you make spaghetti? Pasta? Then you probably have a kitchen colander.

That baby is your new eclipse viewer. Who knew?

Cheap Ways To View the 2017 Solar Eclipse safely

A martini strainer can work, too! Cheers!

Any kitchen appliance with small holes can be used as a pin-hole viewer.

I’ve also seen people using Ritz Crackers to direct their solar eclipse through.

Look, there’s no reason you can’t have a drink and a snack with your eclipse. Whatever works!


3. Watch Online or at a Local Planetarium

Online: It’s free and it’s safe and you’ll probably have the best view of all your friends.

NASA is planning a four-hour geek-a-thon covering the whole thing. If you are in an area that won’t be experiencing totality (like those of us in the DC area) then log on and nerd out.

You can find all your NASA live streaming options right here.

Planetariums & Museums: We’re going to take a trip to Washington, DC and see what the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has to teach us about the eclipse.

Both locations are offering education and hands-on experiences on Monday, DC locals.

Moving here certainly has perks and being 20 minutes outside of the city is one I’m happily taking advantage of!

Since we haven’t been to the Smithsonian in a few months, it’s time! And I’m secretly hoping the kids fall in love with it this time.

Have fun viewing the eclipse- and hey, let’s be safe out there! 

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Patty Holliday

Patty is a 40-ish mother of four living in Virginia. A bit geeky, sometimes sarcastic, lover of a candid confession. She's trying to love running, she swears. But much like her marathon, it’s taking a very long time. Ahem. She's searching for the perfect way to balance family, work, travel, and fitness. Perfect defined as high on fun, low on guilt.