How your phone can enhance your Solar Eclipse viewing parties
For about 3 minutes on August 21, you can watch the moon cross in front of the sun and partially block out it’s light from points around California. A map showing the states with total blocking views can be found on the internet. You’ll probably have your cell phone with you so here are some ways to use it to enhance your eclipse viewing.
The Solar Eclipse Music Playlist
Spotify has several Eclipse playlists you can tap into on your phone. If you already have a large music library, search for some of these and create your own playlist.
Taking photos of the eclipse with your smartphone
The best photos will obviously be taken using a professional camera and a telephoto lens but we know most of you will just pull out your smartphone. Here’s some advise from NASA.
- Cover the smartphone camera lens with ISO-certified sun-viewing glasses. You will also need to wear and use the sun-viewing glasses through the entire event for your vision safety. While Apple says the Sun is too small to damage the camera sensor, NASA recommends playing it safe and using the glasses or filters.
- NASA says, “Using optical filters to photograph the eclipse when you are not on the path of totality is inherently risky because you are looking at the blindingly bright solar surface. NASA makes no recommendations about how to safely photograph the partial eclipse phases because of the huge number of optical filter and camera models that may potentially be used and often with unsafe outcomes.”
- Use a tripod to avoid the inevitable shaking that happens when holding a camera.
- Practice photographing the full moon to get an idea of how large the sun-in-eclipse will appear with your phone and also the light levels.
- Don’t rely on your phone’s auto-focus. You may have to focus manually, which can be done on most smartphones by tapping the screen and holding your finger on the moon to lock focus. Move your finger up or down to alter the exposure.
- Digital zoom will not produce a clear, magnified image. You can buy a telephoto zoom lens attachment for about $20-$40. Most will clip directly onto you phone over the existing lens. You will then put the solar filter in front of the telephoto lens. And remember, it is only safe to use an unfiltered telephoto attachment during totality when there is no solar disk present.
- NASA says, “Once the solar disk begins to appear you cannot use the telephoto unless it is properly filtered or you run the risk of shining concentrated sunlight on the camera imaging sensor and potentially damaging it.
- Consider using the delay timer set to 5 seconds to give your phone time to settle down and produce vibration-free pictures.
More information can be found on the opens in a new windowEclipse link: