March 16th 2010, Doncaster Airport

The pre-flight presentations were held in the departure lounge of Doncaster Airport. Paul Money provided a 30 minute talk on the stars and constellations that would be visible during the flight followed by Pete Lawrence explaining the connections between the Sun and the Aurora.

The activity predictions for tonight were average. There was a reasonably good probability of a disturbance in the solar wind and the vertical component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), known as Bz, had been north for most of the day. If Bz is north, the fields oppose one another and the aurora tends to be quiet. If Bz points south, the IMF and Earth's magnetic field can connect and auroral displays are more likely to occur.

As usual during the flight, the stars looked beautifully crisp and clear. 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 and Jayne Eames acted as the onboard astronomical rovers on this occasion, assisting any passengers who weren't sure what was being described.

The aurora was initially seen as a noticeable glow on the horizon, showing a reasonable amount of brightness. This prominence varied throughout the flight and hinted at faint structure, seen as undulations at the base of the display and faint, internal rays. The display remained like this for the duration of the flight, showing slight brightening towards the end of our time on station. After landing it became apparent that we had had to travel quite far north (62N) to get a good view of the auroral oval. Despite these hints, the display failed to become active. Interestingly, Pete's camera recorded a brief ray above the main band.

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


Image ref: S10_DON3293 by Pete Lawrence
You may download (right click and save as) 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_DON3300 by Pete Lawrence
You may download (right click and save as) 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_DON3301 by Pete Lawrence
You may download (right click and save as) 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_DON3304 by Pete Lawrence
You may download (right click and save as) 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_DON3310 by Pete Lawrence
You may download (right click and save as) 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_DON3312 by Pete Lawrence
You may download (right click and save as) 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.