There are a lot of reasons for an expensive camera and lenses - the ability to shoot in low light conditions, action photography, great composition control and so on. But great photography is possible with cameras that aren't fancy - Vogue editorials have been shot with Kodak Instamatics. Much more important is the photographer.
Smartphone cameras aregetting much better for standard scenes. They also happen to be with you. Apple has a page showing off a few photos made with the iPhone 6. Most were taken only with Camera application that comes with the phone. The others use one or two cheap applications that allow greater exposure control and some editing capabilities. Not DSLR quality, but getting closer and closer.
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.
A volcano, lenticular cloud and aurora - in the same frame on February 5th by Kathleen Croft. The volcano has been active for several months and the aurora season has been intense. Iceland has the right conditions to form lenticular clouds, but seeing all three of these usually rare occurrences from a single vantage point and finding the right exposure is amazing. This is not something you'd do with the camera in a smartphone.