March 26th 2009, Exeter

The pre-flight presentations were held in the departure lounge of Exeter Airport. Paul Money provided a 30 minute talk on the stars and constellations that would be visible during the flight while Pete Lawrence explained the connection between the Sun and the Aurora.

The activity predictions for tonight were indifferent and a forecast of 50:50 was given. Despite the solar wind speed being elevated, the state of the magnetic field embedded within the wind was uncertain.

If the vertical component of this field 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 Nigel Bradbury and Pete Lawrence provided an enthusiastic commentary on the stars and constellations while Paul Money wandered down the cabin giving assistance where needed. The plane used for the flight was an Embraer 195 which usefully has relatively large windows and only two seats either side of the aisle.

The aurora was seen during the flight but, despite being fairly bright, remained, for the most part, as a featureless band in the northern part of the sky. A few tantalising curtains did appear, mainly to the west of the band, and activity was seen to pick up as we headed home.

Pete and Paul attempted to photograph the aurora and some of the results are shown below. Two interesting images show an Iridium Flare captured at its brightest and as it faded from view.

Our thanks go to the Exeter Airport staff, Embraer crew and flight deck who did everything possible to make the experience very special. NCP aren't included on this occasion!

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: EXE8505 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: EXE8519 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: EXE8525 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: EXE8526 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: EXE8527 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: EXE8529 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.