December 13th 2009, Stansted Airport

The pre-flight presentations were held in Radisson Blu Hotel, Stansted 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 connections between the Sun and the Aurora.

The activity predictions for tonight were fairly subdued. The vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), known as Bz, had swung south earlier in the day and this gave us some hope for the flight. If Bz points south, the IMF and Earth's magnetic field can connect and auroral displays are more likely to occur. If Bz is north, the fields oppose one another and the aurora tends to be quiet.

During the flight, the stars looked beautifully crisp and clear with Paul Money and Pete Lawrence providing an enthusiastic commentary on what could be seen in terms of the stars, constellations and any auroral activity outside the plane. Fortunately, on this occasion, the southerly Bz did work for us and a display was seen. Although rays and curtains were not very evident this evening, the display did show a lot of horizontal banding and this was seen to change throughout the flight. Pete attempted to photograph the aurora and a number of the images taken on the Stansted flight are shown below.




Image ref: W09_7703 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.
Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.




Image ref: W09_7704 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.
Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.




Image ref: W09_7712 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.
Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.




Image ref: W09_7737 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.
Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.