March 24th 2011, Liverpool Airport (JLA)

The pre-flight presentations for tonight's flight were held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Speke.

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 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 the glow on the horizon was rather weak. As we approached station, unfortunately this situation continued. This, unfortunately, remained the case throughout the time we were on station. In the event it looked like although there was plenty of material coming from the Sun to kick off a decent display of aurora, the magnetic field embedded within this material was of the wrong polarity to allow it to make a good connection with Earth's magnetic field. This kept the display rather subdued.

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.

Pete and Paul tried to get some photographs of the aurora. Unfortunately, Pete's window frosted over completely and has reduced the view of what was already a weak aurora. Paul managed a couple of shots and these can be accessed from here:

Paul Money's photos Liverpool flight, March 24th 2011