December 14th 2009, Leeds Bradford Airport

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 while Pete Lawrence explained the connections between the Sun and the Aurora.

The activity predictions for tonight were rather weak. The vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), known as Bz had been north for most of the day. 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.

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. Unfortunately no auroral activity was visible during the flight and no display was seen. A faint glow was detected visually and it was initially thought that this was the top of the auroral oval. However, a 50s long exposure of the glow did not reveal any of the characteristic auroral colours and is now thought to be general air glow rather than auroral in origin.

Unfortunately This flight represents the first we've ever had with no activity on show whatsoever! Some of Pete's photographs are shown below.


Image ref: W09_7832 by Pete Lawrence
A 50s exposure fails to reveal the auroral colours.



Image ref: W09_7822 by Pete Lawrence
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Image ref: W09_7875 - Geminid Meteor Trail 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.