March 15th 2009, Newcastle

The pre-flight presentations were held at the Britannia Hotel next to Newcastle Airport. Nigel Bradbury provided a 30 minute talk on the stars and constellations that would be visible during the flight whilst Paul Money explained the connections between the Sun and the Aurora.

The activity predictions for that night were difficult to pin down and a forecast of 50:50 was given. The vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field, known as Bz was swinging from South to North during the day. 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.

During the flight Paul and Nigel provided a regular commentary on the stars and constellations visible. The aurora was a good display with moderate activity and the occasional ray appearing briefly before subsiding showing how quick the display can change. Cliff York was the roving astronomer for this flight and made sure everyone was happy and knew what they were looking at.

The flight/cabin crew did a great job getting the plane very dark and Paul managed to get a few photo's of the display in between doing commentary and these are shown below.



Image ref:NCL150309-1 by Paul Money
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Image ref:NCL150309-2 by Paul Money
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Image ref:NCL150309-3 by Paul Money
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Image ref:NCL150309-4 by Paul Money
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Image ref:NCL150309-5 by Paul Money
You may download this image for any non-commercial purpose.