Online flight map shows empty skies

Noticed that the world seems a little quieter today? It's because Iceland's getting its own back for the financial crisis by spewing volcanic ash into our skies, which has grounded all flights within UK and Scandinavian airspace.

If you want to see for yourself exactly what the effect has been on the UK's skies, you can check out flightradar24.com, which displays the callsigns, heading and location of every plane above Europe. You'll notice that while there's a whole pile of jets on the other side of the channel, the skies are rather clearer on this side.

If you're sat in an airport, pissed off that you couldn't get on a plane today, you might want to have a quick read of the story of British Airways Flight 9, whose engines shut down after hitting a similar volcanic ash cloud near Jakarta in 1982. Luckily, it was able to glide out of the cloud, and then restart engines, but the windscreen was so sandblasted by the ash that the crew had to rely on instruments to land, and couldn't see to taxi down the runway, having to be towed instead.

While you're at it, you could do worse than browsing a collection of shots of the volcano on Flickr, and in particular one incredible shot of the volcano erupting in the foreground, with the northern lights in the background. 

If you've seen any other interesting ash-related links on the web, drop us a line in the comments below, and we'll add the best ones to this post.