How to make an ugly but effective solar eclipse viewer

- The country is counting down to next week's solar eclipse. Combine some basic supplies with a dash of creativity and you can safely watch the historic event.

A busy weeknight in August found this veteran news team safely hidden from (or we suppose completely entrenched in, depending on how one has chosen to curate their information feed) the churning news cycle alone on a deserted floor of its station hunched over an empty cereal box, crafting a truly classic physical representation of form following function or function over form or beauty in the eye of the beholder or something.

We're trying to say our homemade eclipse-viewer turned out very ugly.

"On the inside you tape a piece of paper, which is your projection screen," said Space.com associate editor Sarah Lewin, who managed to assemble a far more aesthetically pleasing pinhole projector but one we must point out that should display the eclipse just as effectively as Fox 5's janky box of already-eaten sweetened wheatfuls.

"I am extremely excited," Sarah said.

Space.com is sending Sarah straight into the eclipse's "path of totality" to view the total eclipse without burning her eyeballs.

"Go into your kitchen and get a spaghetti strainer or colander -- not the mesh, the kind with holes in it -- go outside and hold that up over the ground," astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said Monday at the American Museum of Natural History.

On August 21, using either Dr. Tyson's many-pin-holed-kitchen-camera or eclipse glasses (which have a dark filter that blocks most of the sun's radiation) or expensive eclipse binoculars, Sarah plans to watch the moon completely obscure the sun from a position just outside Bryson City, North Carolina, toward the end of a full solar eclipse's first journey across the United States since the 1970s.

"People are renting out their front lawns to five campers or whatever," Sarah said.

In Manhattan, if the skies remain clear, New Yorkers will witness a partial eclipse.

"Between 70 and 80 percent of the sun covered by the moon," Sarah said.

And for those without special glasses or binoculars or colanders or standards for beauty, they can watch the eclipse at the bottom of a cereal box by cutting two holes in the top, taping a piece of tin foil over one of those holes, and pricking that foil with a pin.

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