No eclipse glasses? Safe and unique viewing alternative

The 'eclipse through the trees' effect
Posted at 7:58 AM, Aug 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-21 14:58:47-04

The reality of finding eclipse glasses has sunk in: You can't find them, right?

Welcome to the club.

We have a safe viewing alternative that only takes a tree to make it work.

9 On Your Side viewer Tony F. pointed out that the "eclipse through the trees" phenomenon is about to happen on Monday -- and most people don't realize this is part of the eclipse experience. So thank you Tony!

Here's what it looks like:

Photo courtesy of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois posted a nice discussion about how this works, and you can read more about it here.

The general takeaway:

In the shadows of trees, the small gaps between the leaves act like multiple pinhole cameras. So think about 100 cereal pinholes above you! But instead of looking at the back of a dark box, you just look down at the ground.

Those gaps cast odd-looking shadows, which is the eclipsing sun. It's a safe viewing alternative since you aren't looking up at the sun. The gaps in the shadows will begin to look weird. It may take a while for you to realize it, but there will be many crescent shapes in the shadows.

The university notes that "when an eclipse is not happening, they (the sun projections) are there too, as circles, but these don't catch our attention since they blend together."