November 15th 2007, East Midlands Airport

Pre-flight presentations were held in the Castle Donnington Community College where Neil Bradbury introduced the constellations and Paul Money discussed the nature of the aurora. The forecast this evening was similar to the previous night - lots of potential auroral activity but heavily dependant on the magnetic polarity of the vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) known as Bz. This value had been seen to swing between north and south over the last 24 hours which would mean no aurora if north or a reasonable display if south.

As soon as the cabin was plunged into darkness it was evident that there was going to be a bright auroral display. Through the right-hand plane windows the right hand edge of the auroral arc could be seen as we headed towards our race track station.

On arrival the display didn't disappoint and a bright aurora was seen. Lots of structure came and went as both sides of the plane took their turn to look north. Of particular note was a large dark central region below the main arc from which well defined vertical rays appeared to the left and to the right. Looking at the structure was reminiscent of a celestial gate leading to the North Pole.











Additional images from Paul Money...