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Don’t try to take a picture of this weekend’s solar eclipse with your phone

Published Oct 12th, 2023 8:22PM EDT
annular solar eclipse
Image: hyserb / Adobe

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On Saturday, October 14, observers throughout the central United States will be treated to a spectacular site as an annular solar eclipse fills the sky. While it might be tempting to go outside with your phone and take photos of the eclipse, you should only do so if you are equipped with the right gear.

The reason you need additional gear to take photos of this upcoming “Ring of Fire” eclipse is because of the intensity of the Sun’s rays. Just like you shouldn’t look up at the Sun without proper protection, you shouldn’t take photos with your phone or camera, either.

annular eclipse over soft cloud colorful sunset skyImage source: darkfoxelixir / Adobe

The reason for this is that the lenses in your phone and camera aren’t designed to filter out the intense solar rays that the Sun puts off. Using your camera or phone would cause the heat from the rays to become so concentrated that it could melt the lens inside. And, if you use binoculars or a telescope to look closer at the eclipse, it could essentially melt your eye.

It’s a pretty gruesome thought, and it’s why so many photographers who capture images of the Sun utilize special filters to help protect their lenses and eyes from the intense rays of the Sun. You can purchase small filters that attach to your phone, or if you’re using a camera to take photos of the eclipse, you can purchase full-on gear for your camera to make solar photos possible.

The event this coming weekend is a rare one, and one that you won’t want to miss out on if you’re in the area that it will affect. If you aren’t in the area, then you can tune in and watch the eclipse through several different live streams while it is happening. For more info on where to watch the Ring of Fire eclipse, check out our handy guide.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.