February 27th 2011, Newcastle Airport

The pre-flight presentations for tonight's flight were held in the Britannia Hotel at Newcastle Airport.

After an introduction from Omega's Peter Truman, Paul Money proceeded in giving a presentation on the stars and constellations which would be visible during the flight. This was then followed by Pete Lawrence who gave a talk on the Northern Lights themselves.

A forecast was given at the end of Pete's talk. After quite a run of some quite active space weather, the conditions which trigger the aurora had subsided somewhat and given us an unusually quite run of flights. Unfortunately, there wasn't much activity on its way from the Sun for tonight's flight which prompted Pete to downgrade the forecast to a likelihood of 40:60 for a show of the lights.

As we flew closer to the auroral oval in a superbly dark cabin, it was clear that there was a glow on the horizon. However, this glow didn't amount to much and actually appeared to dim slightly as we got closer to it. After a chat with the flight deck, a decision was made to try for a location further north and therefore closer to the oval. On this occasion, even this extra bit of aurora chasing didn't help and the glow remained stubbornly quiet throughout the flight.

Pete and Paul gave a running commentary throughout the flight on what stars, constellations and planets could be seen outside the aircraft and as usual, these were quite stunning, especially the 'summer' Milky Way stretching up across the northern sky.

Jayne Eames was the roving astronomer on tonight's flight, helping passengers as she wandered down the aircraft.

Pete and Paul tried to get some photographs of tonight's rather quiet aurora and the best of these are shown below. Please note that the extreme light levels and high sensitivity of the camera required to take these shots means that sometimes ordered prints may vary in appearance slightly to that seen on a computer monitor.


Image ref: S11_NCL_20110227_6545 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: S11_NCL_20110227_6572 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.