You surely know, after heaps of warnings, not to watch the Aug. 21 Solar Eclipse without Heavily Filtered Glasses.
But what about those inevitable selfies with the sun? Advice for the most photographed event of the year isn’t so clear.
NASA itself debates whether smartphone photos of the eclipse can damage the phone’s camera.
Some photographers argue that the tiny lens is too small to admit damaging light to the sensor, and that the cameras automatically set exposures for very short times. Others note that recent cameras come with bigger, faster lenses.
How to safely watch a solar eclipse
Never look directly at the sun’s rays. When watching a partial eclipse you must wear eclipse glasses at all times or use another indirect method if you want to face the sun. During a total eclipse when the moon completely obscures the sun, it is safe to look directly at the star — but it’s crucial that you know when to wear and not wear your glasses.
There’s also the danger of inadvertently hurting your eyes by simply pointing your phone toward the sun, the space agency says.
“The best thing to do is to cover the camera lens with a solar filter during the moments before (and after) totality when the sunlight is still blinding. This will eliminate sun glare blooming and give you a clear image of the solar disk,” NASA says. Eclipse glasses will do.
iPhone maker Apple begs to differ.
Most smartphone photos show a wide-angle view, of which the sun will be a very small part, Apple tells USA Today. Pointing an iPhone at the sun – even during the eclipse – won’t damage its camera sensor or lens, the company says.