You and I and every schmoe with a camera would love to get a great image of a solar eclipse like the one above. But in the same way you should never look directly at the sun (eclipse or no eclipse), you should also not point your camera or your phone's camera at it, either.

Unless, of course, you never want them to work again. (I dunno -- maybe you're into that.)

Think about it -- what happens when you use a magnifying glass to focus sunlight? You can burn ants, leaves or paper (among other things, you sicko). Well, that's EXACTLY how a camera works. It focuses light onto one place to create your picture.

During an eclipse, the sun's light is super-focused, so if you focus that super-focused light into a focusing, magnifying glass ... well, let's just say I've never smelled the inside of a burning camera, and I'm not looking to try any time soon. NASA agrees with me on this.

However, there is a way around this.

You're going to need a solar filter to put over the lens of your camera. If you wait until right before the eclipse, chances are high that filters will be all sold out -- so keep that in mind. A solar filter either reflects or blocks the most intense of the sun's rays, letting in only the light that is safe for your camera.

NASA has released a list of solar filters you can trust. You're looking for ones that are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard. If your solar filter says it is compliant with this standard, you are safe to go, and you can look through those filters as long as you like.

You can buy these filters as little rings that screw into your camera's lens, OR you can buy them as flat plastic sheets that you can then put in front of your camera's lens.

In case you don't believe that the sun can have that kind of power, feast your eyes. Just don't say no one ever told you.

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