Sunday, May 20, 2012

Camera Obscura

My parents were both chemists, and they really loved science. And they loved to get us kids involved. So much so that in 1970 (March 7 to be exact), we drove from Pennsylvania down to Virginia to view the total eclipse of the sun that occurred that day. The week before, we constructed wearable pinhole cameras from cardboard boxes so we could view the eclipse safely.

Which brings me to today. Ben and I went down to the Greek Orthodox church here in Santa Cruz to grab some dinner at their Greek food fair. While we were there, the annular eclipse of the sun started (though it was only partial here on the coast). One lady had some special glasses that some people were using to look at the sun. Then someone noticed images of the partial eclipse on the wall:

Solar eclipse, Santa Cruz, California. Pinhole image projected through leaves on the wall of the Greek Orthodox church.
This reminded me of our pinhole viewers back in 1970, so we improvised with my tin foil gyro wrapper:

View of solar eclipse through gyro-wrapper pinhole camera.

Long view of the gyro-wrapper pinhole camera.

I think my parents would be happy to know that I remembered their efforts years ago and that I passed along a bit of that wonder to my son.

And here's the camera itself:

Gyro-wrapper camera obscura.

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