Can you take a selfie with the solar eclipse?

If you want to look up at the total solar eclipse Monday, you likely know by now you’ll need special eye protection to do so, but does the same go for taking selfies with your smartphone? Experts say yes. 

Taking a selfie during the total solar eclipse can be dangerous, despite your facing away from the sun when you snap the pic. Doctors say harmful UV rays can bounce off your phone and straight into your eyes.  

"Many people will think it’s safe to take a selfie with the eclipse in the background because they aren’t looking directly at the sun," Dr. Tongalp Tezel, a retina expert at Columbia University Medical Center, said before the total eclipse in 2017. "What they may not realize is that the screen of your phone reflects the ultraviolet rays emitted during an eclipse directly toward your eye, which can result in a solar burn."

How to safely take a selfie with the eclipse 


Katrina Severson took a selfie with her kids , Azaiah, 4 and Aliyah Severson 5, as they watched a partial eclipse at the Science Museum of Minnesota Monday August 21, 2017 in St. Paul, MN. (Photo By Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

If you want to snap a pic of you and the eclipse selfie style, you’ll need two things: those special eclipse-viewing glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard, and a Mylar or other solar filter to protect your smartphone or other type of camera lens. 

RELATED: Why you should bring a colander to watch the solar eclipse

You’ll want to use both the glasses and the solar filter to snap selfies in the moments leading up to full totality – the brief time when the moon completely covers the sun and everything goes dark – and the moments after full totality. 

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Full totality is the only time you can look up at the sun without eye protection, and it’s the only time you can safely photograph the eclipse without a solar filter. Experts say you’ll want to remove the solar filter when taking pictures of full totality. 

Why to wear red or green during eclipse 

Wearing red or green is the best way to both enhance your eclipse experience – and get the best photos – according to FOX Weather

In normal daylight, our eyes use the cone cells of the retina to see colors clearly and function best under bright light conditions, which is called photopic vision. But as it starts to get darker, our eyes switch to the rod cells, which are better for low-light vision, or scotopic vision.

A few minutes before the eclipse becomes total, experts says we enter the intermediate phase known as the mesopic vision zone. It’s not too bright and isn’t too dark, but the colors don’t seem to be as vibrant and turn grayish or silvery.

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During that time, our cone cells will receive less stimulation, which will lead to a decrease in the vibrancy or saturation of colors.

This is noticeable with warm colors like red and orange. Green will also pop and look much brighter against the dimming surroundings.

"To really see the changes in color saturation, lots of people need to wear these complimentary red and green colors. Two or five in a group of 100 wouldn’t help,"  a Solar Eyeglasses spokesperson told FOX Weather. 

Experts say skip wearing neutrals like black, white, gray or brown if you don’t want to fade into the background. 

Total solar eclipse path


Projected path and time of totality for the 2024 total solar eclipse over the U.S.

The April 2024 solar eclipse will be visible, at least in part, to nearly everyone in the U.S. But the path of totality – where the moon will completely block the sun – is a 115-mile-wide region that stretches from southern Texas up through Ohio, then over to northern Maine.

Large cities in the path of totality include:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Carbondale, Illinois
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Plattsburgh, New York
  • Presque Isle, Maine

The farther you are from that path, less and less of the sun will appear to be blocked.

What time is the solar eclipse?

Southern Texas will see the peak of totality first, around 1:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Then Dallas at 1:42 p.m., with the time getting later and later as the moon’s shadow moves north. Indianapolis will see the peak around 3:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time; Cleveland at 3:15 p.m., and northern Maine around 3:30 p.m.

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Projected path and time of totality for the 2024 total solar eclipse over the U.S.

However, it will take several hours for the moon to move across the sun, so the actual eclipse event will start just over an hour before the peak of totality, with more and more of the sun slowly being blocked.

How long is the solar eclipse?

Again, that depends on where you are. Those closest to the center of the path will see total darkness for about four minutes at the peak of totality.

But because the moon moves slowly across the sun’s path, the entire eclipse event – from when the moon first clips the sun until the time it clears – will last from 90 minutes to over two hours for those in the path of totality. 

Where do I look for the solar eclipse?

The easiest way to know may be to step outside in the days leading up to the eclipse and see where the sun is during the afternoon.

MORE: How to get the best view of the solar eclipse

Early afternoon on April 8, the sun will be pretty high in the sky. As always, though, the further north you are, the lower in the sky the sun will appear.

For example, in Austin, the sun will be at 67 degrees up from the horizon at the peak of totality. Remember, 90 degrees is straight up, so 67 degrees is just over two-thirds up into the sky from the horizon.

In Cleveland, meanwhile, the sun will be slightly lower, at only 49 degrees – just over halfway up in the sky.

When is the next total solar eclipse?

After 2024, NASA says, the next total solar eclipse visible from any point in the contiguous United States will occur in 2044. Totality will only be visible from North Dakota and Montana.

The next total solar eclipse that will travel across the lower 48 states from coast to coast is in 2045. ​

FOX Weather contributed to this report.