People (and dogs) around the world turn amateur astronomers to spot solar eclipse

Welding masks, cardboard boxes and even X-rays were re-purposed to see the rare phenomenon

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The Independent Online

People around the UK and in Europe adapted household items to watch the solar eclipse today, looking slightly ridiculous while keeping their eyes safe from the sun's rays.

Since the lens in the eye can work to magnify the sun's rays as they come to Earth, and in doing so fry the retina that our sight depends on, people can only safely watch eclipses and other solar phenomenon by blocking out much of its light. But eclipse glasses are often expensive — and, apparently, have all been stolen by dogs — so people across the country and on the continent also used a range of available kit to watch the sun.

Some hid behind welding masks. Others made pinhole projectors using boxes. Others grabbed X-rays to look at the sun through.


People look at a solar eclipse in the sky of Nice, southeastern France

A homemade pin hole camera at Clifton Observatory in Bristol

Miko Gruszczynski tries to get a glimpse of the eclipse with a telescope outside the institution for astronmy in Stockholm, Sweden

A man looks through welding mask to view the solar eclipse at the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

A man holds a protective viewing filter his mouth outside The Royal Observatory during a partial solar eclipse in Greenwich, south east London

Hobby astronomer Hans-Ulrich and his sun Tillmann gaze at the partial solar eclipse using a self-made pinhole camera made of cardboard in front the observatory in Hanover, Germany

People watch the eclipse of the sun through a colander, over the Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall

Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands look at the solar eclipse through special glasses at the Fish Market in Hamburg, Germany

A woman views the solar eclipse from Carlton Hill in Edinburgh

People use protective glasses on their dog as they watch a partial solar eclipse at the Pier Head in Liverpool, north-west England

A man uses a dental X-ray to watch a partial solar eclipse in Pristina, Kosovo

A member of the public takes a picture on her iPad as she wears a welding mask to watch a partial eclipse of the sun, at Stonehenge in Wiltshire

People use giant protective glasses to watch a solar eclipse at the Cite de l'Espace (Space City) in Toulouse, France

A woman watches a partial solar eclipse in Budapest, Hungary

Not everyone may have enjoyed the sight — for much of the country, it looked mostly grey — but others were able to see spectacular images and catch them on film.