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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.]

From instructions to build a Sun Funnel; courtesy of Rick Fienberg.

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."


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.

Venus transits the sun, as seen projected on a Sun Funnel.

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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