Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Articles written by Dennis Mammana

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 By Dennis Mammana    News 

A Winter Sky Sneak Preview

After another sizzling summer in the southwestern desert, I'm happy to know that the seasons will soon be changing and cooler temperatures are not that far off. Before we know it, many of us will be whining about the cold and the... — Updated 9/16/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

The Celestial Queen and the Lizard

Stare at the stars long enough and you're bound to find some that trace familiar patterns. That's certainly what the ancients must have done so they could use the sky as a picture book for their stories. I always enjoy searching... — Updated 9/16/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

Finding the Stellar Dolphin

Whenever I'm out under a dark summertime sky sharing the stars with the public, I always try to point out the largest and most beautiful constellations. I'm always amazed to learn that one of the crowd favorites is neither the brig... — Updated 9/16/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Return of Jupiter

Anyone stepping outdoors at dusk this week will have a hard time missing the brilliant planet Venus glistening low in the western sky. It'll appear there for a few more months and, believe it or not, will become more than twice as... — Updated 9/2/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Perseids Are Coming!

I always enjoy August. For one thing, I can finally see an end to the searing desert heat where I live. For another, the Milky Way appears stunning in the night sky. But my favorite reason for enjoying August is that I get to... — Updated 9/2/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Teapot and the Milky Way

Nothing in the heavens says "summer" to Northern Hemisphere sky watchers quite like the constellation of Sagittarius. On late July and early August evenings, we can find this prominent star grouping low in our south-southeastern... — Updated 8/23/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Ringed Planet at its Finest!

The man who flew a kite in a lightning storm so that we might one day have electricity and penned such poignant words as "in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes," the great 18th century philosopher,... — Updated 8/11/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Reading a Simple Star Map

Beginner stargazers may think it's tough to find our way around the night sky, with so many stars and constellations to try to identify. But during weeks like this when the moon is bright, only the brightest stars appear, and our t... — Updated 8/4/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Four Planets and a Moon

Last week, I showed you how to spot the elusive planet Mercury, the nearest planet to the sun. This week, you can easily see the rest of the inner solar system, and you don't have to rise before dawn! If you've been out on these wa... — Updated 7/28/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Finding the Stellar Coat Hanger

With the hottest time of year now approaching us in the Earth's Northern Hemisphere, it's hard to imagine that cooler days will ever arrive. This is especially true, here, in the Desert Southwest, where I've been sweltering under... — Updated 7/26/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Spotting Mercury at Dawn

It's amazing how things from our childhood can stick with us throughout our lives. I was in fourth grade when I learned that Mercury is the nearest planet to the sun and that it orbits only 36 million miles from our star's... — Updated 7/13/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Summer Triangle

With the brilliant moon in our sky this week, stargazers must settle for viewing bright stars. And there are no brighter stars of the season than those of the summer triangle, now appearing low in the eastern sky after dark. The... — Updated 7/6/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

My Favorite Star of Summer

"If you've seen one star, you've seen 'em all." That's a phrase I've heard many times over my long astronomy career. I suppose it's true to one who seldom peers at the nighttime sky. It's too bad, though, because we who spend more... — Updated 7/6/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Our Wobbly Earth

Of all the stars in the heavens, one appears to stand firmly in place. It's not the brightest of stars, as many people believe. It's actually the 48th brightest star, and you will have trouble finding it from under the light... — Updated 6/24/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Moon and Venus at Dusk

Have you noticed the remarkable jewel sparkling low in the western sky after sunset? That is the planet Venus, returning to the evening sky after being visible for many months only to pre-dawn risers. Some may have missed it... — Updated 6/14/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Shadow on the Moon

During the early morning hours of May 26, night owls and early risers will enjoy a beautiful eclipse of the moon. The celestial cover-up begins at 2:45 a.m. PDT (5:45 a.m. EDT) when the moon's eastern edge will enter the Earth's... — Updated 6/10/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

A Lunar Eclipse Sneak Preview

Early on the evening of Tuesday, May 25, watch as the sun sets behind the western horizon; then, face the opposite direction and you'll soon spot the moon rising in the east. On that night, the moon's phase will be full, and... — Updated 6/7/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Why Is the Night Sky Dark?

If you're out looking for the moon this week, you'll have a tough time finding it. On May 11, it lies nearly in the direction of the sun (its "new moon" phase), but by May 13, it will appear as a thin crescent low in the western... — Updated 5/21/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Seeing Halley's Meteors

Halley's Comet hasn't appeared in our sky for a quarter-century, but during the pre-dawn hours of May 6, stargazers will have a chance to see pieces of this famous celestial visitor. On that morning, sky watchers far from city... — Updated 5/19/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Why Doesn't the Moon Rotate?

Here we are, already at the end of April, and with this season comes some beautiful evening weather to help us enjoy our night sky viewing. This week, the full moon illuminates our sky on Monday, April 26, and as the full moon... — Updated 5/4/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Mars Perseverance: Why Bother?

By Dennis Mammana If you haven't been paying attention to the Perseverance spacecraft that landed on Mars on Feb. 18, you've been missing one of the great scientific achievements of our time. Check out the real-time video of its... — Updated 4/29/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Herdsman and the Crown

I always know that springtime has arrived by the stars I see during the early evening hours. One of my favorites is the small but quite beautiful constellation Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. The Northern Crown isn't one of th... — Updated 4/23/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Celestial Water Snake

Springtime in the Southern California deserts is when the snakes begin to appear. They're beautiful creatures, of course, but considering how much time I spend prowling around after dark, I'm always concerned that I might... — Updated 4/6/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Seeing History... in Real Time

It's been said that most of our knowledge of the universe comes to us in the form of light. But just what is light? Well, that's a question that scientists have pondered for ages, and the answer seems quite peculiar. We now know... — Updated 3/17/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Sneak Peek at the Summer Sky

If you’re like I am, you long for summertime, not only for its warm weather and abundant growth but also because its nighttime sky is among the richest of the year. So it’s usually around late February that I begin wandering outdoors before dawn to sneak a peek at the stars... — Updated 3/3/2021

 

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