November 17th 2009, Bristol Airport

The pre-flight presentations were held in the Bristol Airport Media Centre, Bristol Airport. Paul Money 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.

The activity predictions for tonight remained low but the leading edge of a disturbance from the Sun was starting to take effect. The vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), known as Bz had been fluctuating all 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 tends to be quiet.

As usual, the stars looked beautifully crisp and clear and during the flight Nigel Bradbury and Pete Lawrence provided an enthusiastic commentary on what could be seen in terms of the stars, constellations and auroral activity outside the plane. Paul Money wandered down the aisle assisting passengers and answering any questions. Although auroral activity was fairly low on this flight, an excellent push north by the flight crew afforded us with a view of the Northern Lights. The auroral glow was faint but evident and photographs show that there was structure visible within the glow. Stars were particularly noticeable under the main auroral arch on this flight. A number of meteors were seen on tonight's flight linked to the annual Leonids meteor shower which peaked tonight. A number of stragglers from the recent Taurids shower were also seen. Pete attempted to photograph the aurora and a number of the images taken on the Bristol flight are shown below.




Image ref: W09_6977 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: W09_6980 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: W09_7008 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: W09_7010 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: W09_7012 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: W09_7015 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: W09_7020 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: W09_7021 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: W09_7022 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.