Ring of Fire Eclipse 2021: Date, Time and How to Capture the Moment With Your Mobile Phone

Ring of Fire Eclipse 2021: Date, Time and How to Capture the Moment With Your Mobile Phone
The "Ring of Fire" Solar Eclipse this week only happens when the right conditions allow it. Find out how you can capture the rare moment with your smartphone. Photo : George Frey/Getty Images

Mark your calendars because on June 10, another exciting celestial event will be gracing the skies. Last month, people witnessed the "super flower blood moon" lunar eclipse. This week, we'll be seeing the rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse.

The "ring of fire" solar eclipse is considered rare because it only occurs under specific conditions, NASA explained.

Ring of Fire Eclipse 2021: What Is an Annular Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the Sun and the Earth, covering our view of the sun and casting a shadow.

An annular eclipse happens when the moon, orbiting the Earth, is just far enough to appear smaller than the Sun as it passes between it and the Earth. The Sun then looks like a ring of fire surrounding the dark disk that is our moon.

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When and Where Will the Ring of Fire Eclipse Be Visible?

Because of the specific conditions of the moon's position relative to the Earth and the Sun, NASA said people in parts of Canada, Greenland, and northern Russia will experience the annular eclipse.

Viewers in other areas will experience a partial solar eclipse instead. Viewers in the United States, particularly in the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest and Northern Alaska will be able to see the partial eclipse. The eclipse will occur before, during, and shortly after sunrise, NASA noted, so a clear view of the horizon during sunrise is needed if you want to see it.

So on Thursday morning, rise early and find a clear view of the horizon to the east because the moon will eclipse the sun at 6:53 a.m. ET, CBS News added. Viewers in the Washington, D.C. area can see the 80 percent partial solar eclipse at sunrise, 5:42 a.m.--with the sun looking like a crescent. NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio can also help you figure out where exactly the eclipe will be visible and at what time.

When viewing the solar eclipse, please do wear protective eye gear like special solar eclipse glasses. Even with the moon shadowing a portion of the Sun, looking directly at it can damage your eyes.

How to Photograph the Ring of Fire Solar Eclipse With Your Phone

Photographing the sky and everything in it is a tricky task, more so with your phone camera. It just never captures it right. The moon, especially, is always a challenge.

Keep in mind the limitations of your phone: it doesn't have a telephoto lens that takes close-up shots of things that are far away, like the moon. Your phone camera doesn't do well in low-light situations either, which is the case for the moon at night, or the dark sky during a solar eclipse, The Guardian noted.

But that doesn't mean your smartphone can't do it. It just needs a little bit of finessing.

1. Don't Use Your Native Camera App

Unless your native camera app already supports tweaking manual settings similar to that of a professional DSLR, you would need another app to do the trick.

The Moment App is available on iOS devices and is developed specifically to make your smartphone perform as close enough as it could to a professional camera.

A Better Camera also gives you manual control over your photograph and if your device is supported by it, Google Camera Port Hub has some excellent features as well.

You need to control settings like the ISO and the shutter speed to control the amount of light you are getting when capturing the image.

2. Find a Steady Surface

Your hands, no matter how steady you claim they are to be, will still move even a little when capturing a photograph on your phone. Smartphones have just developed software over the years to correct that when capturing photos.

But in a low-light situation--with your ISO in the lowest and shutter speed adjusted--even the most professional of photographers use a tripod or a steady surface to stop their cameras from moving. After all, even a fraction of a movement can result in a blurry image.

It would be great to also set up a timer when taking the shot or using a remote shutter so you don't move the camera even the slightest bit when clicking the button.

3. Note the Settings

If you're no professional manual exposure camera genius, don't worry, you don't need to know all the technicals. All you need to keep in mind are the following:

  • File Size: With your camera app, you can go ahead and toggle the file format to RAW. This will allow you to capture your photo in the largest file size your phone allows, The Guardian noted.

  • ISO: Set it to the lowest it can go, 100 if possible.

  • Aperture: It's not that important so f8 is fine.

  • Shutter speed: This one you have to figure out for yourself. Keep in mind that the longer your shutter stays open, the more light you let in. So just check your photos to see how much light is being receive in by your camera and what you think looks good

4. Consider Purchasing a Telephoto Lens

A telephoto lens for your phone can help the quality of your image. It will also help you capture a crisper, closer shot. It's not necessary and can cost a bit of money, but if you think you'd want to pursue mobile photography as a hobby, it could be something to look into.

5. Composition

The moon, and the eclipse as a whole, is a large and prominent feature in the sky. If you find a moment where you can accentuate the scale of the star and satellite, that would make for an interesting composition.

Creating depth with a foreground relative to your subject, the moon, can also be interesting and impactful.

6. Post Processing

Your photo straight from the camera roll won't be a Nat Geo award-winning photograph. You can go ahead and adjust the exposure, contrast, saturation, white balance, and anything else you think that could benefit your photograph and make it look the way you want it to look.

If you miss this early solar eclipse, there's also another solar eclipse visible on December 4th later this year. And a live stream of the eclipse is available on TimeAndDate's website which can also be found on YouTube.

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