November 23rd 2008, Leeds Bradford

The pre-flight presentations were held at the Benton Park School. Nigel Bradbury provided a 30 minute talk on the stars and constellations that would be visible during the flight whilst Pete Lawrence explained the connections between the Sun and the Aurora.

Pete had to give a 50/50 chance of viewing the aurora for this flight. Assessing the potential for the display can be difficult due to the widely fluctuating orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field. The vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field is known as Bz and if Bz points south, the IMF and Earth's magnetic field can connect and auroral displays are likely to occur. If Bz is north, the fields oppose one another and the aurora is quiet. All day Bz flipped between the two making predictions difficult hence the forecast.

As we headed north the cabin was plunged into darkness and as our eyes started to dark adapt, so the beauty of the early winter night sky began to reveal itself to us. As we approached station, Pete took a number of test shots which revealed a distinctive reddish glow which is indicative of a weak display. On this flight we managed to get up to 62 degrees north, around the furthest possible during the northern light flights. This took us close to the Faroe Islands. On station the aurora brightened to the left of the arc and visually it looked as if it was forming some vast distant mountain to the north. A few delicate rays were recorded with the camera. During the flight Pete Lawrence and Nigel Bradbury provided an enthusiastic commentary on the stars, constellations and auroral activity visible outside the plane windows. Pete also attempted to photograph the aurora and the best images are shown below. Exposure times were in the order of 20s which, coupled with the fact that the camera had to be hand-held against the cabin window, explains the slight distortions visible in the stars.

Please feel free to download and use the images for any purpose you like as long as it's of a non-commercial nature. If you would like to purchase a souvenir 12"x8" photographic print of any of these photographs, please click on the link provided. Secure payment is made via PayPal but you don't need a PayPal account to purchase, just a credit or debit card. Delays may occur if you order during a busy flight sequence so please allow up to 28-days for delivery.


Image ref: LBA3897 by Pete Lawrence
You may download this image for any non-commercial purpose. If you'd like a 12"x8" photographic print of it (7.00+ p&p) please click the button below.



Image ref: LBA3900 by Pete Lawrence
You may download this image for any non-commercial purpose. If you'd like a 12"x8" photographic print of it (7.00+ p&p) please click the button below.



Image ref: LBA3907 by Pete Lawrence
You may download this image for any non-commercial purpose. If you'd like a 12"x8" photographic print of it (7.00+ p&p) please click the button below.