October 30th 2011, Gatwick Airport

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

After an introduction from Omega's Peter Truman, Nigel Bradbury gave 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. There had been significant auroral activity over previous weeks and the prospect of the enhanced solar wind output from a coronal hole gave the flight an added air of expectation.

As we flew closer to the auroral oval in a superbly dark cabin, it was clear that there was a glow on the horizon. This showed the characteristic sharp lower edge caused by the silhoutetted edge of the Earth against the glow. As the plane flew further north, the aurora appeared brighter and with some structure on view. A strong head wind made it difficult to maintain an eastward flight path on this occasion.

Pete and Nigel 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 region around Orion the Hunter.

Paul Money was the roving astronomers 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. It should also be pointed out that Pete's window was fogged during the flight, slightly compromising the shots he managed to get.


Image ref: W11-20111030-LGW-IMG_0536 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: W11-20111030-LGW-IMG_0559 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: W11-20111030-LGW-IMG_0581 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: W11-20111030-LGW-IMG_0618 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: W11-20111030-LGW-IMG_0643 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: W11-20111030-LGW-IMG_0661 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.