Tag Archives: Venus

Venusian Weather Balloon

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This is a painting inspired by all the manuscripts of the old and upcoming space missions to the planet Venus, the closest planet to Earth, Earth’s twin sister.

The planet Venus to me is more interesting than the Planet Mars. I personally believe that colonizing and exploring the planet Venues could be much easier than going after the planet Mars 1st.

If it was for me, I would send a mission to every celestial object there is out there to explore it, and keep going back for more.

Venusian Weather Balloon. A painting view of future exploration mission.

Venusian Weather Balloon. A painting view of future exploration mission.

The Painting took several days to finish. The Venus planet express mission by the European agency and the the saved Japaneses mission AKATSUKI of Venus had a lot of inspiration in making this piece of art. Although both missions didn’t had a weather balloon in their payload or tasks, still, they played a big part as a muse for this painting, and hopefully for more future science and art missions.

Enjoy!

-Ahmad

Five planets alignment

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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

 

Comet Catalina Dec2015

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Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) is a comet discovered in 2013 and is expected to give a beautiful show from observers on planet earth perspective on the months of December 2015 and January 2016.

Comet C/2013 US10  is a morning comet, and the observation took place in the early hours of dawn toward the eastern horizon.

Observation of this comet from California was a bit difficult due to the weather condition and the brightness of the Comet. Comet Catalina was expected to be a naked eye comet, how ever, the comet didn’t reach the magnitude 4 in the scale of apparent brightness as was expected. Today, when these pictures were taken, the apparent magnitude was about 6~7 and many low clouds near the eastern horizon had played a role in making the observations more challenging.

The Moon crescent and the planet Venus with low clouds in the eastern horizon at dawn.

The Moon crescent and the planet Venus with low clouds in the eastern horizon at dawn.

Conjunction of the Moon crescent and the planet Venus. Dec-7-2015

Conjunction of the Moon crescent and the planet Venus. Dec-7-2015

This morning the comet made a small conjunction with the Moon crescent and the planet Venus as shown in the pictures. The comet is too dim to be observed with the naked eye, but the view is beautiful with telescopic aids or a camera.

Here is a couple of close up pictures of the comet where the comet was marked in the picture:

Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

(Marked) Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

(Marked) Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

Near the conjunction Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

Near the conjunction Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

The brightness of the morning dawn before Sunrise was taken over, and making the background sky brighter than the Comet. However, more pictures was manged to be taken.

The Moon and Venus made a beautiful display by them self.

Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

(Marked) Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

(Marked) Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

A wide view of the western horizon sky before Sunrise. December 7th 2015

A wide view of the western horizon sky before Sunrise. December 7th 2015

I hope the weather will be more cooperative in the next few days and that the comet will have a good display show for it’s observers this season.

As for now, here is more pictures of the Moon, Venus, and the comet, with the dawn glare in the back.

The observation took place between 2 hours and an hour before Sunrise.

Wind were around 4~9 mile per hour (7 to 14 KPH) and the temperature didn’t exceeded 66F (~18C degree) and was in the low 50F degrees at some point.

The Moon Venus Conjunction with the Comet

The Moon Venus Conjunction with the Comet

The Moon Venus conjunction. December 7th 2015

The Moon Venus conjunction. December 7th 2015

The conjunction of the Moon, Venus, and Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

The conjunction of the Moon, Venus, and Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

The conjunction of the Moon, Venus, and Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

The conjunction of the Moon, Venus, and Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 December 7th 2015

Santa Susana Pass, Los Angeles county

December 7th 2015

-Ahmad

 

Planets at Dawn

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In the early morning hours of October the 26th, the planets Jupiter, Venus, and mars aligned toward the direction of the eastern horizon and produce a beautiful triple planet conjunction show.

Followed later before Sunrise, the planet Mercury will join the morning planetary alignment

The Triple conjunction of planets Jupiter, Venus, and Mars above the San Fernando Valley

The Triple conjunction of planets Jupiter, Venus, and Mars above the San Fernando Valley

Here is a noted version of preview image:

The planets with respect to the background stars.

The planets with respect to the background stars.

The observation took place at Santa Susana pass, between the local two valleys. The weather condition didn’t prevent this night sky observation even though the valley been having cloudy nights during this month.

Orion constellation was at a good altitude above the southern horizon followed by Canis Major constellation.

Orion & Canis Major constellation.

Orion & Canis Major constellation.

The temperature was great, It was in the low 60s F or higher 50s F  (17~13 C degree)with light winds.

Closer look at the triple conjuction

Closer look at the triple conjunction

Closer look at the triple conjuction

Closer look at the triple conjunction

The planets conjunction over the hills

The planets conjunction over the hills

There were few shooting stars passed by. The most significant observed that morning were slicing the big dipper area coming from south to the Northern horizon. There was one caught on an image while photographing the conjunction of the three planets.

A shooting star frame the of conjunction

A shooting star frame the of conjunction

A shooting star frame the of triple conjunction

A shooting star frame the of triple conjunction (noted)

The shooting star is most likely from the Orionids meteor shower that is still active.

Orion was covered by passing clouds from time to time.

At this point of the night he Moon was reaching the western Horizon.

Another view of the triple conjunction near clouds.

Another view of the triple conjunction near clouds.

4planet_oct2015-9

Orion and the star sirius with clouds

The Moon on the Western Horizon

The Moon on the Western Horizon

Another shot of the Triple conjunction

Another shot of the Triple conjunction with passing clouds

Orion with respect to the local southern horizon which is higher than true south horizon.

Orion with respect to the local southern horizon which is higher than true south horizon.

The Pleiades were stunning as usual with Aldebaran following it. At this point of the night, Mercury was near rising, I had to take a couple more pictures of the triple conjunction and obseved the Moon set on the western horizon.

The Big Dipper was up high with it’s pattern of this time of the year and night.

Triple conjunction from Rocky Peak.

Triple conjunction from Rocky Peak.

Triple conjunction from Rocky Peak

Triple conjunction from Rocky Peak

I had to include my shadow in the frame for this one.

I had to include my shadow in the frame for this one.

The Big Dipper.

The Big Dipper.

The Big Dipper noted.

The Big Dipper noted.

A wide view of the triple conjunction from the peak over the San Fernando Valley.

A wide view of the triple conjunction from the peak over the San Fernando Valley.

The Moon set over Simi Valley

The Moon set over Simi Valley

Triple conjunction before Sunrise

Triple conjunction before Sunrise

Finally, Mercury is in the same frame image as the other planets.

Planet Mercury with the other planets

Planet Mercury with the other planets

Here is the noted version below:

Triple conjunction with Planet Mercury

Triple conjunction with Planet Mercury

The planet Mercury

The planet Mercury

One more close up of the triple conjunction. Jupiter Moons are showing easily

One more close up of the triple conjunction. Jupiter Moons are showing easily

Jupiter Left, Venus Right

Jupiter Left, Venus Right

The show of the night ended with the arrival of the most relevant start to our life, the Sun.

Sunrise October 26th-2015

Sunrise October 26th-2015

Until next time…

October-26th-2015

Rocky Peak, Santa Susana pass

Los Angeles, CA.

-Ahmad

Venus and Jupiter conjunction 2015

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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

Triple Conjunction

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This evening, the after Sunset view was beautiful with its celestial triple conjunction of the Moon, and the two planets Mars and Venus. The moon is nearly 49 hours old is easier to spot after Sunset than the one day old new moon. The separation of the Moon and the Sun to the observer perspective in the western horizon is greater, and nearly 25 angular degree apart from the Sun.

A passing airplane over the triple celestial conjunction

A passing airplane over the triple celestial conjunction

Venus was really bright. In term of visual brightness magnitude, the planet Venus was -3.38 which easily outshine the planets Mars which was nearly magnitude of 1.5.

Venus, Mars, and the Moon

Venus, Mars, and the Moon

The three celestial made a beautiful evening view. The weather wasn’t as good, and the clouds were coming and the humidity was high. The clouds than were overcast.

A western horizon view  of the Crescent Moon and the planets Venus and Mars.

A western horizon view of the Crescent Moon and the planets Venus and Mars.

The weather was becoming really foggy, and limit the observation, how ever, a couple of close up pictures were take.

Close up picture of Moon Crescent, Mars, and Venus

Close up picture of Moon Crescent, Mars, and Venus

A little over exposed photo of the conjunction.

A little over exposed photo of the conjunction.

One of the things I like to observe usually in the 2nd evening of a new moon, or when the moon is nearly 48 hours of age, is the southern pole region of the moon from earths perspective. The crescent at some point due to the geological features of the Moon just disappear, as if the crescent has a hole. The look of the crescent is captured well in the next photo.

50 hours old new Moon crescent cut off. The southern pole region of the Moon (The left edge of the Moon crescent in this image)

50 hours old new Moon crescent cut off. The southern pole region of the Moon (The left edge of the Moon crescent in this image)

February- 20th-2015

Santa Susana Pass, California.

-Ahmad

25 Hours old new Moon

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From this location of the globe in southern California, the winter crescent new Moon shine brightly over the valleys and plains . The western horizon after sunset featured a beautiful 25 hour old of age thin crescent Moon.

25 hours of age new Moon.

25 hours of age new Moon.

Another notable celestial object near by was the planet Venus, and next to it very dimly at this time of the day, the planet Mars next to it.

The  thin crescent Moon and the planet Venus on the upper left.

The thin crescent Moon and the planet Venus on the upper left.

The weather felt humid, and there was a fog thin mist. The weather was getting cloudier, and the weather forecast predict to for a cloudy weekend. The temperature was dropping, after a day near the 26 Celsius degree rang (80~75F degree).

The Moon was a little more than 24 hours old from it’s last new Moon event where the Sun rays cast over the moon shift location from earth perspective. The Moon had ~1% luminosity, phase .1 .

Tomorrow, I am hopping for a better weather than what is predicted, or at least few clear windows between the clouds in the western horizon to see the crescent moon near the planets Venus and Mars.

Thin Crescent Moon close up.

Thin Crescent Moon close up.

Thin Crescent Moon

Thin Crescent Moon

Here is another photo with less exposure time where a glimpse of the lunar geological features  can be noted even with an unaided eye.

Few lunar geological features can be noted.

Few lunar geological features can be noted.

San Fernando Valley, California.

Feb-19-2015

-Ahmad

Jupiter & Venus conjunction 2014

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Today morning, August the 18th 2014 had a great conjunctions view of the planets Jupiter and Venus. The planets rose approximately an hour before Sunrise and provided a spectacular sky show.

The separation was 22 arc minute (nearly third of a degree) which is less than the angular size of the diameter of the Moon.

Jupiter&Venus 2014-16

Jupiter & Venus conjunction

I personally haven’t seen Jupiter and Venus be this close since November 5th 2004 in Kuwait. This year 2014 the two planets in angular size perspective where a little closer to each other than it was in 2004, however, the view was better back then because the planets rose earlier in the morning and there for, their conjunction was in near total night darkness, without the interference of the dawn light. And it was in winter, so the view lasted longer.

Jupiter&Venus 2014-14

Jupiter & Venus conjunction over the San Fernando Valley, CA.

In 2014, today, the brightness of the planet Jupiter was brighter than it was in 2004. The show was much shorter and limited to only an hour before sunrise. The advantage of this year was the alignments of Jupiter moons. All major four moons were presents, and produce a great viewing opportunity.

Jupiter&Venus 2014-15

Close up. Venus left, Jupiter and it’s four moons right.

The view of this pair of planets is always been fascinating, and my brother Jassem and I shared the same thought when we 1st glanced at it ten years ago. He voiced it 1st when he said: Don’t they look like a pair of eyes gazing back at us. As if the universe is looking back at us. He looked at me in the eyes as I was busy with my binocular and elaborate more: No wonder the ancients thought of the celestial objects of the night sky as gods, one look at this pair, and you can feel as if you were been observed, or watched.

This dawn the feeling was the same. I felt being watched by a giant. I do feel this way every time I look at the sky and the planets pair conjunction added more value to it.

Jupiter&Venus 2014-17

The pair at dawn.

The pictures were taken over the San Fernando Valley.

 

August 18th 2014

Santa Susan Pass, California

-Ahmed

Perseid Meteor Shower 2014

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This morning, the Perseid meteor shower preformed really well even with present of nearly full Moon. The observations were made near Castaic Lake at elevation of ~2500 feet (760 meter).

The weather cooperated in the last minute. There were clouds in the Los Angeles area, however, about 60 miles north, the clouds were non existence and the sky was clear. The temperature was cold compare to the summer daytime. Humidity was less than it was in Los Angeles. The meteor shower was relatively strong and did not disappoint.

The Moon was really bright, and effected the observation. The majority of the meteors were very faint, and there were no fire balls.

Perseids 2014 -2

A meteor

The average was about 40 meteors an hour. Most of them were observed from the north east side of the sky, however, some were on the south and very few from the west. The peak was between 3 am to 4 am.  This is almost third of the amount of meteors compare to last year.

The camera captured 8 meteors. One was bright enough to outshine the brightest stars.

Perseids 2014 -3

Orion Constellation over Castaic Lake

Orion Constellation, Taurus constellation and Pleiades.

Orion Constellation, Taurus constellation and Pleiades.

 

Orion constellation rose in the east majestically declaring the stargazing session end is near.

Venus was present, and Jupiter was covered by the distance mountain tops in the eastern horizon.

The planet Venus rising, mistakenly known as the morning star.

The planet Venus rising, mistakenly known as the morning star.

Until Next Year…

 

August- 13th– 2014

Castaic Lake, CA

-Ahmed

Rock Mugu, Spring 2012

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Leaving the city behind on a Friday afternoon with my trusty yellow tent and my camera, heading for the coast line, with a huge doze of enthusiasm, I was going to spend the weekend camping along the side of the Pacific Ocean.

After driving in the Santa Monica Mountains roads between its ranches and small tunnels, I reached the Pacific Highway Ocean, where the ocean laid on my left side view for the rest of the journey to Point Mugu.

The drive along the coast line has always been favorable choice of mine even if there was a shorter rout that was away from it. I love the mountains more than the Sea, yet, driving is always more beautiful and romantic along the side of body of water, salt or fresh.

I reached my destination at La Jolla Campsite around 5 p.m. shortly after passing the locally famous restaurant Neptune, a very appropriate name indeed given its location.

It was spring, late Mars, so I had an hour before Sunset, which gave me time to greet the group I was going to spend the weekend with, and set up my tent. To my advantage, there was no marine layer covering the sky. However, few thin clouds were on the horizon which later in the evening, they dimmed some of the planets brightness.

It didn’t take a lot of time to secure my location and my tent. Unlike the mountains where I usually camp in California, there were no bears to worry about. Shortly after, I walked to the beach with few friends, and set up the camera on a rocky surface, and capture few pictures of the famous rock Mugu along the side of the planet Venus, the Pleiades, the bull constellation Taurus, and Orion the hunter.

Rock Mugu night-1

 

The haze and humidity of the beach gave the bright stars of the constellations Orion and Canes Major a small halo that made them bigger and rounder to the eye and the camera, which enhanced their color.

Rock Mugu night-2

 

The marine layer than rolled over and the temperature dropped significantly, where I had to wear my winter jacket. We went to our campsite around the campfire to seek warmth. Later on I could see Mars peaking through the clouds. I got to see the Big Dipper high above the North Pole star Polaris.

I also got to share all this, and enjoyed explaining it to the other campers around the camp fire. Not all of them knew that I am an Astronomer, and it was a pleasant surprise to them and a pleasant experience to me as always. It seems no matter where I go, there is no lack of interest to the night sky.

The morning after, I woke up at 5 a.m. for an arranged early hike with one of campers that I met yesterday. The marine layer was denser, and covered the sunrise well.  The view of the ocean though did not get any less beautiful. The marine layer start to break up after the sun was high in sky.

Rock Mugu day-1

The day was spent walking between beautiful hills and cliffs of the sea with the sounds of seagulls. The sights along the hike weren’t that alien to me, later on, I knew that the location was used in many Hollywood production movies. So this uncovered the mystery of why the place seems so familiar. I also got to visit Rock Mugu up close in the late afternoon and saw some of the leftover holes made by past rock climbing activity, before the authorities shat down the place for climbers. The rock was surrounded by fishermen both happy and grumpy ones.

Rock Mugu day-2

Rock Mugu day-3

 

Rock Mugu day-4

Later on, I left my friends to find a good place where I can try to hunt for the green flash at sunset. I picked up my location, and many seagulls were flying around me, on the horizon, and resting along the beach.

There were far away clouds along the distance horizon, so I knew right away that my chances of capturing the green flash are very low. I didn’t capture the green that sunset, but I got many gorgeous sunset shots.

Rock Mugu day-5

Rock Mugu day-6

Rock Mugu day-7

 

Rock Mugu day-8

Rock Mugu day-9

The marine layer that night was very present, so no further observations of the night sky were made. I just enjoyed eating warm S’more around the campfire, in a very cold night. Although I knew what it was, it was the 1st time I actually tried it.

I woke up on Sunday morning at the sound of the rain drops hitting my tent, a beautiful way to wake up. We prepare breakfast on the wet tables of the campsite, and left before noon. It wasn’t the 1st time or the last time I was in this place, but it was the 1st to spend two nights on raw so near the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful weekend.

Mars – 23rd to 25th – 2012

Point Mugu, California

-Ahmed