Looking for the northern lights? Use your phone camera

That little greenish smudge on the right is the northern lights, as seen by my phone camera’s night mode. | Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

Somewhere over Greenland, I opened up the window shade. People see the northern lights on their flights to Iceland, right? Might as well check. I was sitting parallel to the wing, the blue and yellow Icelandair logo lit against the black sky. But as I looked back toward the tail of the plane, I saw something else: a faint white smudge in the sky. I looked away and back a few times, and sure enough, the light was moving. I could just make out a white line with vertical bands radiating upward. Not the awe-inspiring green waves you’d hope for, but not nothing.

The only camera I had close was my iPhone 13 Mini. Not ideal. A picture through a dirty plane window with a tiny phone camera sensor? Pfft. No chance. I figured I’d try anyway just to…

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