March 3rd 2011, Bristol Airport

The pre-flight presentations for tonight's flight were held in the Media Centre, Bristol 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.

A forecast was given at the end of Pete's talk. We were still under the influence of a large coronal hole for this flight so expectations were cautiously optimistic.

As we flew closer to the auroral oval in a superbly dark cabin, it was clear that there was a tangible glow on the horizon. As we approached station, the glow remained but failed to show much activity. This situation remained throughout the time we were on station. There was a very brief period of enhanced activity but it was over almost as soon as it had begun Photographs showed a couple of small rays towards the eastern side of the auroral oval but these weren't seen visually.

Pete and Nigel Bradbury 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.

Paul was the roving astronomer on tonight's flight, helping passengers as he wandered down the aircraft.

Pete and Paul tried to get some photographs of the 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_BRS_20110303_6935 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_BRS_20110303_6956 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_BRS_20110303_6965 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_BRS_20110303_6967 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.