Our last flight of the winter 2007 season began with a dual presentation given at the Windmill Village Hotel just outside of Coventry. The first part of the presentation was given by Nigel Bradbury and covered the constellations. This was followed by a second talk given by Pete Lawrence explaining what the aurora is, where it comes from and what the prospects for that night's flight were.
Like previous nights, the prospect of an aurora was difficult to define with any certainty and Pete's forecast stated that there was a 50:50 chance of seeing something. This was based on the fact that although there was plenty of activity coming from the Sun, the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) was swinging from north to south and vice versa. With the IMF north there would be no aurora seen. If it swung south then the display could be good.
In the event the IMF did swing south and a bright aurora was seen. On this occasion many rays were seen coming from the main auroral arc, many of these extending well above the main display and up into the stars above. The photos shown below indicate that the display was a complex one with many layers and curtain structures. It also appears to be located some distance from the plane as the edge of the Earth can be seen silhouetted against the main arc.
All in all this was a fantastic end to the winter 2007 season.