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The Elevator Pitch

I get 30 seconds to pitch the Sun Funnel as a commercial product at the Live Elevator Pitch Competition at South Bend Brew Werks on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 6:00 p.m. [Added Feb. 27: See video of the pitch I made.]

It'll go something along these lines:

"In 2017 the moon will pass in front of the sun, visible from Oregon to South Carolina. But looking at the sun is dangerous. This Sun Funnel allows a group of people to look safely at a magnified view of the sun. It has been tested by astronomers worldwide. I’m seeking an entrepreneur to take this design and develop the Sun Funnel commercially."

That's the pitch. Of course, there are unspoken asterisks in those 30 seconds, such as credits, but I'm reminded, "Don't endlessly qualify." Think radio.

The timeline is to get a cleaned up version of the Sun Funnel to market before the May 9, 2016, transit of Mercury. The Sun Funnel can be made in small batches at first, with production ramped up as necessary.

The real target, however, is to be ready for the 2017 Solar Eclipse--what will perhaps be the most observed celestial event in US history. All of North America will be able to see a partial eclipse, with a swath from Oregon to South Carolina witnessing a total solar eclipse.

Up until now I have led workshops for people to make their own Sun Funnels, and instructions written by Rick Fienberg are online. The Sun Funnel has been used worlwide by astronomers for the 2004 and 2012 transits of Venus, solar eclipses, sunspot tracking, and other solar viewing.

Get ready for the August 21 2017 Solar Eclipse. At a 2015 workshop at Notre Dame with the Big Picture Science team, Seth Shostak dubbed a report on the Sun Funnel as Totality Awesome. If you want to help groups of observers to witness the 2017 eclipse safely, please contact me. After the 2017 solar eclipse, visible across North America, the market for Sun Funnels grows annually with ongoing eclipses and transits seen worldwide.

The Sun Funnel design has advanced with the input of Bruce Hegerberg, Gene Zajac, Rick Fienberg, and Jim Spencer.

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