January 13th 2010, Exeter Airport

The pre-flight presentations were held in the departure lounge of Exeter Airport. Nigel Bradbury 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 reasonably good with a disturbance in the solar wind caused by a coronal hole on the Sun. The vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), known as Bz, had been observed to be southward for much of the day and it was hoped that this state of affairs would continue during 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.

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 acted as the onboard astronomical rover on this occasion, assisting any passengers who weren't sure what was being described. Fortunately, on this occasion, Bz did swing south and we did get an auroral display. Although it didn't show much in the way of ray or curtain structuring, the aurora was seen as a fairly bright band with definite 'layering'. Quite a few changes were noted throughout the duration of the flight with the different layers all coming together as s single band towards the end of our observing session. At one point a ray did form within the main band but this soon subsided.

Pete and Paul attempted to photograph the aurora and a number of the images taken on the Exeter flight are shown below.




Image ref: S10_8738 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: S10_8742 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: S10_8748 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: S10_8790 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: S10_8794 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: S10_8802 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: S10_8805 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.