March 5th 2008, East Midlands

Pre-flight presentations were held at the Castle Donnington Community College. Nigel Bradbury provided a 30 minute talk on the stars and constellations that would be visible during the flight while Paul Money described the origin of the aurora and gave a forecast for the activity that might be seen during the flight.

At this time there was plenty of activity coming from the Sun to produce an aurora but it was noted that the vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), Bz, was fluctuating from north polarity to south polarity and back again with some rapidity. If Bz is south, the IMF and Earth's magnetic field can connect to produce auroral displays. If north, the fields oppose one another and the aurora is quiet.

Activity was fairly subdued on this flight with a noticable band in the north but little in the way of detailed structure. During the flight Pete Lawrence and Nigel Bradbury provided a commentary on the stars and constellations visible outside the plane windows. A few photographs were taken which are shown below. The major component of this particular display was recorded as a red band above a brighter green strip which was seen to split both horizontally and brighten in two distinct patches. The red component wasn't visible to the naked eye.