Tag Archives: Planet

Uranus view of the Sun (painting)

Paintings header_013

Another painting that features another planet of our Solar system where the perspective again is nearly from the orbit of the planet Uranus.

Uranus view of the Sun.

Uranus view of the Sun.

Uranus view of the Sun.

The painting features some of the dynamic weather in the atmosphere and the rings of planets that were elusive for observers on earth until we reached the age of observing the ring’s Sun eclipses through them, and the age of space telescopes and a space craft that flew by the planet once.

More painting of the planets and the solar systems objects will be posted soon. This painting will be part of a Solar System encyclopedic project.

More to come,

Enjoy!

-Ahmad

Five planets alignment

Article header_simple

Today January 30th 2016 was the morning where five planets alignments occurred. The Planets Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter.

Five planets Alignment. From left to right, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter. Lets not the Moon is included.

Five planets Alignment. From left to right, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter. Lets not the Moon is included.

Here is the same photo where the Planets and the Moon are annotated.

The five planets and the Moon annotated.

The five planets and the Moon annotated.

Yes, there were clouds, how ever, this is relatively a clear night compare to the rest of the month night. The weather forecast predict a storm coming Sunday to the southern California area. which is the next day. This make this Saturday morning the period of the calm before the storm.

The temperature was around the lower 50s degree F. (around 10 degree Celsius.) The upper wind direction were from west to east. The winds near the ground were blowing from the East. The humidity was high.

Here is a close up look of the planets Mercury and Venus in the same picture frame over the San Fernando Valley:

Mercury and Venus over the San Fernando Valley.

Mercury and Venus over the San Fernando Valley.

As the Sunrise moment was approaching, I observed the marine layer over both the Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley. The Earth shadow casting on the pink background sky was beautiful as always. It never gets old.

Earth shadow casting on the pink sky. The southern view from Rocky peak.

Earth shadow casting on the pink sky. The southern view from Rocky peak.

Another close up of the hills tops from the southern direction of the pink sky before Sunrise. The shadow division is Earth Shadow.

Another close up of the hills tops from the southern direction of the pink sky before Sunrise. The shadow division is Earth Shadow.

The view of the pink sky and the earth shadow cast from the West direction. You can see the the marine layer over Simi Valley.

The view of the pink sky and the earth shadow cast from the West direction. You can see the the marine layer over Simi Valley.

Soon after at this time of the day at 6:52 am in local time, the Sun rose from the east another day.

Moments before Sunrise.

Moments before Sunrise.

Sunrise of January 30th 2016 over the San Fernando Valley.

Sunrise of January 30th 2016 over the San Fernando Valley.

Close up. Sunrise of January 30th 2016 over the San Fernando Valley.

Close up. Sunrise of January 30th 2016 over the San Fernando Valley.

Half way through. Sunrise of January 30th 2016 over the San Fernando Valley.

Half way through. Sunrise of January 30th 2016 over the San Fernando Valley.

Today is another day. Sunrise of January 30th 2016 over the San Fernando Valley.

Today is another day. Sunrise of January 30th 2016 over the San Fernando Valley.

I spend another 2 hours around the peak and observed the changed of the marine layer as it flow over both valleys and between hills tops.

Here is the north view from Rocky peak. Which show Oat Mountain and its many Radio towers.

Oat Mountains right after Sunrise.

Oat Mountains right after Sunrise.

The flow of the marine layer from the south direction.

The flow of the marine layer from the south direction.

That’s it for today, and catch you later!

Have a nice day!

 

 

 

January 30th 2016

Santa Susana Pass, Los Angeles, California.

-Ahmad

 

Venus and Jupiter conjunction 2015

Article header_simple

This summer, the planets Venus and Jupiter once again aligned so close to each other, within a degree of visual angular distance. From the west coast of north America, the view was beautiful, right after Sunset. The Moon was also near full, and rose after. The images were taken on July-1st-2015. The alignment lasted for few days.

Here is an image toward the western horizon. The weather was cloudy at the beginning.

The Sunset of July 1st 2015 from Rocky peak, California

The Sunset of July 1st 2015 from Rocky peak, California

 As usually, the planet Venus was the 1st bright object in night sky. The celestial canvas showed the planet Venus, and right after Jupiter.

Venus and Jupiter were the 1st celestial objects to spot on the western horizon after Sunset

Venus and Jupiter were the 1st celestial objects to spot on the western horizon after Sunset

The clouds then covered the planets for few minutes. Which gave me enough time to make contact on the Amateur Radio simplex net meeting of the local HAM radio club. Another activity I am getting more involved in recently.

Sunset

Sunset

As seen in the picture below, the planets were getting easier to spot, as it gets darker.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after July-1st 2015 Sunset.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after July-1st 2015 Sunset.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after July-1st 2015 Sunset.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after July-1st 2015 Sunset.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after July-1st 2015 Sunset.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after July-1st 2015 Sunset.

You can even notice the Moons of Jupiter in the images taken. Ganymede was on top left of the planet Jupiter, and the other three, Europa, Io, Callisto, were bottom left.

The conjunction of Jupiter and Venus as the sky getting darker.

The conjunction of Jupiter and Venus as the sky getting darker.

The planets were covered by passing clouds later on for a short while.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction covered by the clouds.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction covered by the clouds.

The rest of the images shows the planets as they were approaching the horizon.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after the clouds cover.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after the clouds cover.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after the clouds cover over Simi Valley.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction after the clouds cover over Simi Valley.

The weather was humid, but at the summit, it was very windy, not cold. Which is a typical July weather.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction close up.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction close up.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction close up as they passed visually behind the clouds.

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction close up as they passed visually behind the clouds.

The moon phase was near .99, or luminosity of 98%.

Near Full moon of July-1st-2015.

Near Full moon of July-1st-2015.

A wide angle view of the near full Moon over the San Fernando Valley from Rocky peak.

A wide angle view of the near full Moon over the San Fernando Valley from Rocky peak.

The evening was a pleasant one, as usually the case of a good stargazing session.

Again, the planets alignment did represent the view of two eyes looking down on Earth. The view never gets old.

until later…

July-1st-2o15

Rocky Peak, Santa Susana Pass, Los Angeles.

-Ahmad

Jupiter & Venus conjunction 2014

Aimlessly Beautiful

Paintings header_013

The Surreal painting of the ring system planet is inspired by the wild life that is around me during stargazing session at this time of the year. The points of lights on the globe remind me of Simi Valley city lights from rocky peak perspective.

Aimlessly Beautiful

Aimlessly Beautiful

The type of butterfly that was featured in the painting is commonly known as Adelpha in the scientific community, and can be called sister due to similarity with other butterfly family.

The painting took roughly 10 hours of work.

March-31st-2015

-Ahmad

Fall sky at the Sierra

journals header_simple

Sierra-1

I was on the road with 3 friends to Big pine town, California after 9 pm. The weather was cold as expected at this time of the year, which was November the 8th 2013. We made a stop halfway through to get more supplies to spend in the Sierra all weekend long. We were all carpooling in one car.  After getting what we needed, we filled the car with a full tank of gas, and our stomach with warm coffee.

The day started for most of us as early as 4:30 am. My friend and I met in the south bay area and headed to Perris airport to skydive all day long. We managed to jump nearly five jumps. After we finished, he suggested to me to join him on a trip with a couple of his friends to the Sierra Mountains. I remember telling him the best adventures I had are the one I didn’t planned in advance, so I agreed to do so and notified my Michelle on where I was going.

We reached our destination near Big pine around 3 am Saturday morning. Each one of us took their sleeping bag out, and slept in the open. Although it was cold, there were almost no winds at our location. So the sleeping bag provided enough warmth before Sunrise.

Of course, I was looking at the stars, and I couldn’t pass the low light pollution night sky, and stargazed for a couple of hours. I took few shots of the constellation Orin which lay toward the southern horizon. Then I went to sleep an hour before sunrise.

Sierra-3

After sleeping for 2 hours, we get up, and got ready for a day of activities. Two of our friends went to a nearby lake for a half day of fishing. I stayed with the rest of the group. The winds start to pick up. It wasn’t strong, but it was good enough for a short glide.  I got to see my friends and photograph them glide over the sierra, and enjoyed the views of the mountains as always. I wasn’t going to glide, so I helped driving the car back down after it took us to the top of the hill where the launch site was.

Sierra-5

 

Sierra-8

Sierra-30

Soon after around 1:30 pm (nearly an hour and half after it’s true rising time), the Moon starts to peak above the eastern hills with its half illuminated face which made it bright enough to be seen comfortably against the blue sky background in daytime. A view inspired many in all type of fiction and nonfiction work of humanity. The phase of the moon was ~46% and I concluded from its natural cycle, it will be with us until midnight.

Sierra-56

Sierra-57

No wonder the Sierra was and still is a location of many passions. Just that day alone, we got to stargaze, paraglide, fish, grill and later on rock climb and camp. As if the mountains surrounding the area is blocking the noise of the busy modern world and leave us alone to enjoy life as it is.

After we regrouped with our fishing friends, we headed down south to Lone pine town, a town very near to a famous mountain, Mount Whitney, a mountain in which I have good memories with.

We reached Lone pine, we rock climbed around a nearby area of Alabama hills. I set up my tent, knowing that I will head to sleep very soon, since I didn’t get to sleep as much the previews two nights. However, I couldn’t resist the night sky, and I ended up staying up.

Sierra-67

In term of planets, Venus was there as the poetic term evening star, and Jupiter later on with the Hunter constellation.

Sierra-69

Sierra-70

Sierra-71

Sierra-72

Sierra-73

Sierra-74

Although the moon was bright, it actually gave a good luminosity to the exotic beautiful rock formation. I took most of the photographs toward the east anyway. The Pleiades was rising. The Milky Way band was present comfortably to the naked eye even with the bright moon around from south to near north. To give a good sense of measure, the open cluster IC 4665 was also accessible to the eye even with this condition.

Near midnight, after the moon set, I set up the camera next to my tent to take long exposures to generate a star trail photo. I took one last photo of the Milky Way with no tracking mount with the absent of the Moon interference, and I lit up the rocks with a red flash light.

Sierra-79

I woke up with the Sunrise, and went to the camera, and changed its battery, and took few last shots of the long shadows of early morning.

Sierra-81

Sierra-86

Sierra-88

Sierra-89

Sierra-91

Sierra-93

We stayed a little more to enjoy the mountains, and head back to reach Los Angeles County by Sunday night.

November – 8th~10th – 2013

California

-Ahmed

 

Extra:

Here is the Star trail photo of this Weekend: Star Trail

Mars over SF Valley

Article header_simpleMarsSF-1

The red planet is coming close to reach its periodic orbital alignment where from earth’s night sky perspective will be in its brightness for this year tonight on April the 8th. The Sun will be in one direction in the sky, and Mars will be on the opposite side. This alignment is happening due to Earth’s position in the solar system with respect to the Sun and Mars. The red planet and will be above horizon most of the night time.

The image was taken from Santa Susana pass of Mars rising above the San Fernando Valley on April-7-2014.

MarsSF-2

The weather was warm and winds changed and stop blowing from South west and start coming from the North east after sunset.

-Ahmed

December Snow

journals header_simple

Ten days ago, it was Friday, I submitted the last papers that were needed to complete my primary objective of my journey to California. I have finished all the work that is needed to inquiry a bachelor degree in Engineering by the educational system. It was December 2011-26th, mixed with Christmas memories of the last couple of days, spend with close college friends family, I was in a state of mind where I felt like I had no obligations, and finally, I can rest and close my eyes, and enjoy the holidays, even if it was for a short while.

The Milky Way

The Milky Way

Driving, I was roughly a hundred miles (160 Kilometer) north of down town Los Angeles. In Mountain Pinos, near a town called Frazer Park, the snow was in good amount, and it was still occasionally falling. I saw the snow covering some of the houses seasonal decorations and roof tops as I was passing by across the town, heading for the peak’s parking lot. The temperature was low as one might expect at this time of the year. The road to the main site I was heading for was blocked due to snow. The road called Cuddy Valley Rd. and it is famous between astronomers who live nearby. So I parked on the side of the road in one of the turn outs that have relatively a good western view, to see the last moments of the Moon and Venus setting on the horizon.  Around 8240 feet elevation (~2500 meter above sea level,) the stars start to show up clear and crisp.

Planet Venus & the Moon

Planet Venus & the Moon

The colors of the sky were of blue and orange stripes, the view always reminded of Sci-Fi themed Hollywood’s movies of the 1980s and 70s.

Venus and Moon close up.

Venus and Moon close up.

The view of the planet Venus near the moon is a beautiful sight that kept amazing my, and many other eyes and minds throughout our collective history and culture. Now that I’ve enjoyed the view, I start to check the location I am in and the state of the car.

Looking back at my car.

Looking back at my car.

The Pleiades were up in the sky, chased right after by an orange reddish colored star Aldebaran. Those stars and constellations were the same where ever I travel. They might shift their position in the sky, but they keep their shape nearly all the time. The stars fixed position give comfort to the observer. I remember when my brother Jassem and I start to recognize those stars and constellations well, from the roof tops of our temporary home back in early winter 2004, and he was saying something along the lines of how knowing their names and seeing them in after few consecutive nights made him feel like the night sky is welcoming and that those points of light became friends.

The Pleiades, the Bull, and the Hunter.

The Pleiades, the Bull, and the Hunter.

Back in early 2000s, my passion for Astronomy took a new turn. It wasn’t just stargazing with an unaided eye anymore, and more time had been spend on the practical side, the theory part and reading about it also increased. I didn’t know that it will take me to California, be scholar and study engineering. Along the way, I met so many interesting people and all sort of characters, and boost my passion to the night sky even further.

The thoughts and memories of Stargazing were getting together in my head the entire holidays season time. I was done with college and possibly spending last couple of months in California enjoying the landscape at day and the night sky, before I go back to two job offers in Middle East.

Orion the Hunter

Orion the Hunter

As I was thinking of what will happen in the near future, I set up my camera to capture the night sky and leave it work autonomously under live supervision. I took the binocular out from the trunk of the car and start mounting and pointing it to the Andromeda galaxy, Orion’s sword, and few star clusters among other objects. There was a slight light pollution in one single direction from a nearby town that usually at the top Mt Pinos won’t be obviousness at all, because it will be covered by the side of the mountain and the remain covered by the side trees, that wasn’t the case in my location. It wasn’t bad, I didn’t notice it really, and it added nice ambient background light to the pictures captured that night.

The temperature was really low, and it felt really cold. After all, the snow was on each side of the road, and around me. So I had to go inside the car to cover up and warm up every now and then, without turning the engine on. I can look through the window to see the stars, but it feels a little beside the point, when a good amount of driving time was spent to reach the location, even if the idea sounds convenient to just sit.

Three hours spend in stargazing and capturing the night sky on the side of a mountain road in somehow a wild natural place. It was a quiet place, with passes of few cars and airplanes. There was also many wild life sounds and braking tweaks sounds either by animals or snow fall, or my imagination. Speaking of imaginations, I spend about ten minutes checking pair of eyes seeing me back in the middle of the woods. It was the other road cat’s eye road signal. I checked.

I thought that this was the last time I am going to stargaze in this mountain for a long time. So the trip was my way to say goodbye to Mt. Pinos in a sense.  I was wrong. As I was driving down, I stopped by the local Denny’s restaurant before I hit the I-5 highway. I got a meal and hot coco, and review the pictures on my camera, and reached to the conclusion of what to do in the next two years. I have an opportunity to continue using my scholarship to get a master degree. I thought, if I use it, then I can spend more time walking the landscape and the mountains around me, and Stargaze more.

A very cheerful young “nerd” tall blonde waitress brought the check for me and told me randomly that she likes my smile and how cheerful I am, and I should stay here and not go. She was being nice and showing gust hospitality. As if it was a sign, I thought everything is welcoming. I should stay the next two years post graduation time in California.

Another reason that encouraged me to choose to stay longer in the state is to finish a new sky related activity course program that involved jumping from flying vehicles and land softly and safely twenty five times.  I only did it twice as I was reaching my final conclusion to stay in this stargazing trip. Little did I knew, that it will have a great impact on my sky obsession.

December – 26th – 2011

-Ahmed

Elsinore Footer site_002

December’s Moon, & Venus

Article header_simple

The Moon illumination this evening was about 13.1% and took over the evening western sky after sunset with Venus 7 degree south west of it. The clouds went away with the Sun and didn’t block any view.

Moon and Venus Dec5th-1

The weather was really cold with temperature of 41 degree F (5 degree C) according to the national weather station 1500 ft below where I was, and wind of 10 miles that seemed a lot more between natural wind tunnels from Rocky peak.

Moon and Venus Dec5th -2 Moon and Venus Dec5th -3Moon and Venus Dec5th -4

Dec-5-2013

Santa Susana Pass, CA.

-Ahmed

Observing Ison before the perihelion.

journals header_simple

Comet Ison is a comet full of surprises, and was discovered and observed since September 2012. It was named the Comet of the century for showing a lot of potential according to sources such as NASA and scientific media such as Astronomy and Sky and Telescope magazine, and many blogs and website around the globe.

Ison, November-15-2013 in the early morning before Sunrise.

Ison, November-15-2013 in the early morning before Sunrise.

Many amateur Astronomers with scopes no less than 8 inches (~20 cm) of aperture power got images as early as October. The comet was 1st spotted on June after it disappearing for few months.

The comet didn’t brighten at the same rate as it was expected. Even when it closer to the Sun, and was in the inner part of the solar system as of early October, which is the rocky planets part. It was a small let down. Still, a new comet in the sky is eventful.

Comet Ison was 1st logged in my logbook on November the 2nd 2013. It was early in the morning before Sunrise a couple miles away from the highway that took me away from the city.  It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be, I even didn’t use gloves this time and didn’t go inside the car for a warm break.

Ison when 1st spotted on November the 2nd 2013.

Ison when 1st spotted on November the 2nd 2013.

The Comet was dim, and I couldn’t see it with the naked eye. However, I took view pictures of the location where I thought the comets would be in the field of view of the frame.

The comet was comfortably 10 degree above the horizon and bright enough to be capture with my camera lens.

I start to go every morning in week days before sunrise to a location near Castaic Lake. The observation of the weekend from the 9th to 11th November morning took place in the Sierra part of California. Then went back to near Castaic Lake and Rocky peak.

The weather wasn’t helpful though, and most of nights were cloudy. Beside, the locations I was observing from had a cloudy eastern horizon normally. Even in a clear morning, there are always few patches of clouds floating.

Nov-24th-2013

Nov-24th-2013

Nov-24th-2013

Nov-24th-2013

 

Nov-24th-2013

Nov-24th-2013

Most of the nights I spend stargazing and trying to hunt for the Comet end up with observing clouds instead and their behavior in the location I was in.  At some night, the light pollution from the city Lancaster which is at the Eastern horizon usually colors the clouds above it in beautiful colors. The colors are not as beautiful as the colors of the Sunrise and Sunset, but it has its own magic.

Before Sunrise Nov-24th-2013

Before Sunrise Nov-24th-2013

Clouds blocking the comet observation Nov-24th-2013

Clouds blocking the comet observation Nov-24th-2013

The planets were bright enough to peak through thin clouds, and this year, in this few months, all five planets that can be observed with the naked eye were present. Venues is relatively high in the sky right after Sunset and Jupiter dominate most of the night, and Mars in the early morning in the Eastern Horizon before Arcturus and Spica. Mercury and Saturn rise up before Sunrise.

Jupiter Nov-17th-2013

Jupiter Nov-17th-2013

Jupiter and its moons. Nov-18th-2013

Jupiter and its moons. Nov-18th-2013

The perihelion, the closest distance in which the comet will be to the Sun, and where the observation of the Comet is most difficult from the ground due the brightness of the Sun, was scheduled to be on the 28th of November – 2013. This happens to be on the American holiday day Thanksgiving.

At Thanksgiving Day, around Noon, the comet was pronounced dead by NASA officials and many media because the space NASA/ESA spacecraft SOHO could not see after it passes.

The next day, the Comet brightens up in the other side, and shining again, dimmer, but still shining. The tail is ejecting heavy material and lack of the light particles in the tail, according to early reports from sources such as NASA, and Astronomy magazine, and news media.

Comet Ison is full of curveballs, and I can’t wait to observe its comeback from the perihelion in the next few weeks if it can survive that long, and I can’t wait for the 26th when the comet closest approach to Earth given it survived..

The Comet trajectory will make the observation accessible at dawn toward the Eastern horizon even after passing the perihelion.

Clear skies

Nov/Dec 2013, California.

-Ahmed

cloudnights-10

cloudnights-7

Saturn and Mercury.

Article header_simple

This morning the observations of the comets and the planets at dawn took place at Santa Susana pass. The comet is near the Sun now, so it rises within close time window. There for, no need to drive to remote place for dark sky since the glare of the Sun will be out anyway.

Mercury&saturn Nov-26-2013-1

Saturn & Mercury (bottom).

The pass weather was a bit cold with wind blowing from the east, making wind tunnels between rock formations. The clouds were low near the horizon. I am not sure what the altitude of the clouds was. So there was no access to the comet.

At some part of the pass, where the rock formation covers the light pollution from both valleys, the Simi from the west and San Fernando from the east, bright stars stood clearly and their blue hue is very present from the human figure shape constellation Orion and it’s little companion dog and nearby in contrast the warm color of orange from the Aldebaran. At west, the far clouds near the horizon gave the view of those constellations as if they were flouting on sea of clouds, at this time of the day, the whole time it felt like a good night dream. On the east, the sky starts to give a hint of brightening led by the yellow of Arcturus.

Mercury&saturn Nov-26-2013-2

Saturn and Mercury over the San Fernando Valley.

The eastern view had Mars high in the sky near the Moon, beautiful view, while Saturn and Mercury at lower altitude near the horizon. In the other side, Jupiter was shining brightly.

Along with Venus early at twilight, it was a night with all five visible planets and the Moon. A small telescope or binoculars would show Neptune and Uranus too at twilight.  All of this made me feel I was surrounded by a lot of old friends, and home.

Nov-26-2013

Santa Susana Pass

-Ahmed