Tag Archives: solar eclipse

Solar Eclipse with iPhone!

24 Aug

We had fantastic weather here in Ottawa on August 21, 2017, and I was able to photograph my first solar eclipse! We saw 71% of the sun covered here in Ottawa and I took a boatload of photos and video.

The View Through the Telescope

Here are some of my best shots. All images and video were taken through my Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope (filtered with an Eclipsmart solar filter) with my iPhone 7.

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Approaching peak eclipse in Ottawa. Stack of 10 iPhone photos through 8″ telescope.

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The classic PAC-MAN shot. Stack of 10 iPhone photos through 8″ telescope.

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Almost done! Stack of 10 iPhone photos through 8″ telescope.

Raw Timelapse

I also put together a rough timelapse built from unedited iPhone images taken through my telescope. Note: I changed the orientation of the phone/eyepiece and the degree of zoom used during the eclipse, which is why the orientation and size of the sun changes throughout the timelapse.

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Videos

Here’s a short video of the view through my iPhone as the wind picked up a bit early in the eclipse:

Solar Eclipse through 8″ telescope with iPhone 7. from Andrew Symes on Vimeo.

And this is an iPhone video (sped up 4x) that shows the moon crossing in front of a sunspot at right.

Moon swallows a sunspot! from Andrew Symes on Vimeo.

Non-Telescopic Shots

I also took some non-telescopic photos using a homemade solar eclipse “projectinator,” eclipse glasses, and a colander!

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Pinhole projection in a poster tube.

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Solar eclipse with iPhone through eclipse glasses.

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Crescent suns through a kitchen colander!

Now to chase totality in 2024!

How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse with your Phone

21 Jul

If you want to take a photo of a solar eclipse but don’t have a solar filter for your DSLR camera or a solar-filtered telescope, there is a simple option: take a photo with your smartphone through eclipse glasses!

Before the eclipse, find a pair of solar eclipse glasses (also called eclipse shades). These can be purchased at low cost online or from local telescope stores. Some local libraries or associations also give these glasses away for free in advance of an upcoming eclipse.

By holding the glasses over your phone’s camera, you’ll be able to dim the brightness of the sun and take photos as the moon crosses in front of it. Without eclipse glasses, the sun is too bright to photograph with a smartphone, but the glasses dim the brightness enough to get a decent photo.

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The sun will appear small, but you should be able to make out the shape of the moon as it takes a bigger and bigger “bite” out of the sun. Once you have aimed the phone/glasses combo at the sun and see it on your screen, lock the focus and adjust the brightness down or up if necessary. You’ll be tempted to zoom in, but don’t do it. The digital zoom function on your phone will probably make the sun look too pixelated or fuzzy. You can always crop the photo later.

Here’s a photo I took of an un-eclipsed sun in this fashion with my iPhone 7:

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If you’re lucky enough to live in a region that will experience a TOTAL solar eclipse, you can remove the solar glasses from the phone’s camera during the few minutes of totality (when the moon completely blocks the sun) and take a photo using the regular smartphone camera. During these short minutes, the sun’s light will be completely blocked by the moon and the scene will be dim enough to photograph without a filter.

Remember, the only safe time to look at the sun without a solar filter is when the disk of the sun is completely covered by the moon. This only lasts a few short minutes, and only happens along the “path of the total solar eclipse” as shown in this map of the August 2017 event. At all other times, and in all other locations, you can only look at the sun with proper eye protection.

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Other Eclipse Photography

If you want to try DSLR photography or photography through a properly-filtered telescope, B&H Photo has an excellent eclipse photography guide on their site.

And, again, NEVER look at the sun without eclipse glasses, NEVER look through a camera viewfinder at the sun, and NEVER aim a telescope at the sun unless it has a certified solar filter attached to the front of it and you are an experienced telescope user.