November 12th 2007, Gatwick Airport (21h55m flight)

This was the second of two Northern Light Flights from Gatwick Airport organised for the 12th November 2007. The three guest astronomers accompanying this flight were Dr. Lucie Green, Pete Lawrence and Paul Money. Paul gave the first introductory briefing on the constellations followed by an explanation of what causes the aurora by Pete.

Following the presentations, everyone made their way over the the South Terminal and boarded the plane (an Airbus 321) for the flight. The last minute details of the flight were finalised with the Captain and First Officer and the flight began.

After approximately 50 minutes of flight time the cabin lights were extinguished and the passengers given time to dark adapt. It immediately became clear that there was a distinct auroral glow visible from the right hand side of the plane as we continued to station. This glow showed some lovely vertical structures which moved, brightened and faded with some rapidity.

As we approached our holding point, where the plane would track east-west and west-east on 8 minute runs, it soon became clear that we were going to witness a bright and impressive auroral display. Many bright arcs, curtains and rays could be seen providing passengers with the best auroral display of the 2007 season to date.

The flight continued slightly longer than planned to give everyone the best opportunity of seeing this wonderful natural phenomenon and we finally landed back at Gatwick Airport at 02h00m.

Additional images from Paul Money...