Want to see the solar eclipse, but couldn’t get any of the suddenly super expensive solar eclipse glasses? Do you want to also keep your retinas working afterwards? You already have the solution in your pocket!
Your can use your smartphone to look at the eclipse without harming your eyes, if you do it the right way.
CAUTION: Do NOT attempt to take a picture of the sun with the regular camera on the back of your phone unless you have eye protection. You could accidentally look at the eclipse and damage your eyes. Even looking at the eclipse for just a moment can cause long-lasting damage. This is especially true if you are staying in Jacksonville, as we will not be in the path of totality, so there will be no time in which it is safe to look at the eclipse.
However, you can use your front-facing camera to view (and attempt to take a selfie with) the eclipse, from behind you, with little to no risk. There’s no danger to your phone, as long as you don’t use any additional lenses, but you still have to be careful. Here’s how to do it:
- Face away from the sun. Make sure the sun is behind you.
- This is the most important step. Do NOT face the sun!
- Don’t turn around and look at the sun! Also, be careful not to shine a reflection of the sun into someone else’s eyes!
This is the first total eclipse in North America since the iPhone was invented. Most likely, any selfies you take with the eclipse are going to look awful. No offense. You might be cute, but the pictures will probably be duds.
The iPhone and lots of Android cameras are great at taking photos under ideal lighting conditions, but the solar eclipse is the exact opposite. There will be little to no illumination on you, you’ll be likely surrounded by darkness, and the eclipse itself will be very bright. This makes for complex photography. And, for safety’s sake, you’ll be using the worst camera on your phone.
However, in a pinch, your front-facing camera can help you catch a glimpse of the first total solar eclipse in the United States since 1979.
If you do want to try to take good photos, here’s a few tips that might help you snap a better shot of the solar eclipse.
If you decide trying to use your phone is too complicated, you can always go with one of these old-school analog methods to watch the solar eclipse instead.
If you miss the eclipse, don’t worry! There’s gonna be another total eclipse in seven years.