How to safely take photos with your smartphone during annular eclipse on Oct. 14

“Everybody likes to take pictures with their phones but if you want to take a picture of the sun, you’ve got to protect your phone camera,” AND your eyes

SAN ANTONIO – On Oct. 14, those in the path of the upcoming annular solar eclipse from Oregon to Texas will have the opportunity to witness an event that won’t happen again for decades.

“San Antonio is ideally placed to see the maximum eclipse,” said Doug Duncan, top astronomer and eclipse expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Duncan said an annular solar eclipse is unique because the moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle.

“It’s a little bit oval, so it can be further away and look a little smaller. On Oct. 14, it’s going to be a little too small to totally cover the sun, and so it leaves a ring of fire, a little ring of fire all the way around. And that’s what people in San Antonio are going to be lucky enough to see,” said Duncan.

If you don’t share eclipse photos on social media, did it even happen?

The Texas Optometric Association advises people not to use their smartphones to take pictures or video during the eclipse.

“Watching a solar eclipse on your smartphone camera can put you at risk of accidentally looking at the sun when trying to line up your camera. It could possibly also damage your smartphone camera. Never look at a solar eclipse through the optical viewfinder of a camera. It can damage your eyes in the same way as looking directly at it,” the TOA said in a press release.

But, Duncan said there is a safe way to do it.

“Everybody likes to take pictures with their phones, but if you want to take a picture of the sun, you’ve got to protect your phone camera,” Duncan said.

Duncan partnered with John Jerit, founder and CEO of American Paper Optics, to develop a filter to protect your phone’s camera and allow you to take a snap of the sun or an eclipse. It’s called the Solar Snap.

“First and foremost, you need the snap. So the snap comes in the kit, and you actually get two of them,” said Jerit. “And then you also have some two pieces of Velcro that will allow you to attach it to the back of your phone camera. And of course, to get everything lined up, you need glasses, and then lastly, there is a digital download there, and that allows you to start using the cell snap correctly, and it helps focus your phone.”

Both Duncan and Jerit say you must also wear safe solar eclipse glasses to avoid eye damage during any eclipse, even while looking at the sun on your phone. The glasses must be ISO and CE certified, so regular sunglasses are not safe.

Duncan and Jerit say the same glasses and filters for this eclipse will work just fine for the total eclipse on April 8, 2024.

Solar eclipse glasses and the Solar Snap — they will be perfectly fine next April when all the lucky people near San Antonio are going to see a total eclipse, so save your glasses,” said Duncan.

Duncan will visit San Antonio from Colorado for the annular solar eclipse on Oct. 14.

With a bunch of college students who are going to launch a balloon to take pictures and observe the eclipse, and I will be there with my Solar Snap in my own phone, and I’m going to go home with my own souvenirs,” said Duncan.

For more information on Solar Snap, click here.


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About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.