December 15th 2009, Blackpool Airport

The pre-flight presentations were held in the departure lounge of Blackpool 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 were the same as the previous night, a flight which resulted in our first complete no-show so there was a certain amount of trepidation. The vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), known as Bz, had swung south earlier in the day but had returned to a northerly orientation by the time of the presentations. 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 - this is what happened on the previous night.

As usual, the stars looked beautifully crisp and clear and during the flight Paul Money and Pete Lawrence provided an enthusiastic commentary on what could be seen in terms of the stars, constellations and auroral activity outside the plane. Fortunately, on this occasion, Bz did swing south and we did get an auroral display. The activity on this flight was quite distant and this limited what could be seen. Bright patches and the occasional ray were spotted. Pete attempted to photograph the aurora and a number of the images taken on the Blackpool flight are shown below.




Image ref: W09_7989 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_7991 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_7995 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_8007 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_8029 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.