Astronaut Reid Wiseman, 222 nautical miles above a point in the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles off the coast of Africa, shot the night sky and the Milky Way on Sept. 27, 2014 with a Nikon 3DS. Handheld 3seconds, f1.4, 24mm, ISO 12800.
I've read a large majority of Americans under 30 have never seen the Milky Way.
In 1991 a friend who does serious amateur photography made a series of exposures of a solar eclipse in Hawaii. The idea was to vary the exposure lengths and then digitally align and combine the photos to produce an image with a much great dynamic range than was possible with conventional film. He took the photos and I digitized the negatives and aligned and adjusted the layers. We had much better detail than most eclipse photos - detail in the corona was amazing. Our secondary goal was to detect detail on the moon's surface from the reflected earthshine. We were just able to make out a few of the maria.
Others have tried similar tricks and digital cameras and much better camera mounts have improved dynamic range as well as reduced the effort. A serious bit of advice - if you ever plan to watch a total solar eclipse, forget trying to photograph it unless you have some sort of fully automatic camera. The chances are others will do a much better job and the event is so spectacular that you need to be spending your time in proper awe.
Most aurora videos are time lapse with individual frames being exposed for 10 to 30 seconds to gather as much light as possible. They have a lot of motion and are dramatic, but not terribly realistic if you've ever seen the real thing. A few people have recorded them in realtime using cameras with a lot of light gathering capability and sensors with large pixels. You aren't going to see this with your smartphone.
Here is a great example by Ole Salomonsen - it reminds me of the displays I've seen.
The central New Jersey sky suffers from heavy light pollution and we've had more than our shares of overcast nights, so looking for Lovejoy has been mostly disappointing. It isn't terribly bright and was only a dim fuzzy patch here the other night. Some amateur astrophotographers have had much better skies and the equipment to make beautiful images. Gerald Rhemann has been doing some beautiful work - this one is a three panel mosaic as the field of view of his telescope is too small to capture the full tail.