Phone Camera

Looking for the Northern Lights? Use Your Phone Camera

I pulled back the window shade somewhere over Greenland. On flights to Iceland, don’t people see the northern lights? I was seated parallel to the wing, the blue and yellow Icelandair logo lit against the pitch-black sky, so I might as well double-check. A faint white smudge in the sky was visible as I turned to face the plane’s tail, though. I briefly turned my head away before returning, and sure enough, the light was moving. A white line with vertical bands radiating upward was all I could just barely make out. Not the magnificent green waves you hoped for, but still something.

I only had my iPhone 13 Mini’s camera handy. Not ideal. A photo taken with a tiny phone camera sensor through a soiled airplane window? I thought I’d try anyway, just to have something to point to when we got home and told people we saw the northern lights, but Pfft. No chance. The camera app automatically switched to night mode, and a few seconds later, I had a picture of the northern lights, which were much clearer than I had ever seen them in person.

A few days later, night mode saved the day once more on a boat tour in search of the northern lights, which sadly proved fruitless because none of them were visible. A crew member told us he’d spotted some activity using a “nice camera,” meaning a full-frame As far as I could tell, it was a Sony mirrorless ILC.

This time, I was using the Xiaomi 13 Pro, and sure enough, my night mode pictures showed a faint green line in the sky that was invisible to the unaided eye. It wasn’t a total failure, though, because the crew also passed around shots of aquavit.

In spite of the fact that night mode wasn’t created with astrophotography in mind, it turns out to be a really effective tool for capturing images of things like the northern lights. Through the use of long exposures, it is able to capture light that is too dim for our own eyes to see, and computational processing creates a clear, bright image.

Read More: How to Get Grid on iPhone Camera?

Source: theverge

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