Eli5- How did my phone camera capture the northern lights

151 viewsOtherPlanetary Science

I read on Facebook to take a picture of the sky in my town even if it looked like nothing to the naked eye. Sure enough the picture was a gorgeous picture of the northern lights- bright purples and greens. It looked like just a dark sky when I looked up. How did my phone get a picture of that when I couldn’t see it?

In: Planetary Science

4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Some models of phone have little to no filtering; in the infrared and the ultraviolet which are spectrums that excited molecules in the upper atmosphere would be probably broadcasting in.

In my limited experience, I find that one or the other camera on your phone whether it’s the selfie cam or the main cam, one of them will be unfiltered. If you have an old school remote control that uses an infrared LED, you can test your phone’s cameras abilities to see infrared using it!

Anonymous 0 Comments

Is your phone a Samsung?

Anonymous 0 Comments

Many CCD cameras can adjust their “shutter speed”. Meaning they slow the readout rate of the array and during the longer times between read outs, the charge storage capacitors can integrate small amounts to larger amounts before reading the array out. Thereby “seeing” in much lower light than our eyes can.


Anonymous 0 Comments

Cameras can be more sensitive than the human eye in low light levels. This ltes the capture images of things too faint to easily see.