Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Articles written by Dennis Mammana

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 By Dennis Mammana    News 

The 'Linking' Star

Many folks believe that constellations are celestial pictures and are disappointed when they can't see these fanciful images from ancient times. That's because constellations are not pictures but areas of the sky. Astronomers have... — Updated 1/27/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

When Celestial Giants Meet

If you've got a small backyard telescope, this is the time to set it up, because next week, you'll witness something you may never witness again. On the evening of Dec. 21, stargazers looking low toward the southwestern sky during... — Updated 1/27/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

2021: A Year of Celestial Wonder

The beginning of each new year is filled with hope and optimism. This year will be no exception, especially after the gut-punch we received from 2020. And with the new year comes a list of resolutions we swear we’ll follow. How many times can we possibly say, “And this year, I... — Updated 1/11/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

Mooning Around on Winter Nights

The final full moon of 2020 arrived on Dec. 29, when it rose majestically over the northeastern horizon shortly after sunset. We astronomers usually schedule our observing programs for times when the sky isn't obscured by such... — Updated 1/8/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Mooning Around on Winter Nights

The final full moon of 2020 arrives on Tuesday Dec. 29, when it rises majestically over the northeastern horizon shortly after sunset. We astronomers usually schedule our observing programs for times when the sky isn't obscured by... — Updated 1/6/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

A Change of Seasons

Nights have been growing longer; snow is blanketing much of the land; and furnaces are working overtime. Yes, there's definitely a change of seasons coming our way. It's surprising how many folks don't understand why the seasons... — Updated 1/6/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Which Astronomy Books are the Best?

One of the most common questions I hear around the holiday gift-giving season is this: "Which is the best book to buy for a beginning stargazer?" I wish it were that easy, but the fact is I just have no answer! Unfortunately,... — Updated 12/31/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Geminids Meteor Shower

I was well into adulthood before I ever considered spending an entire night outdoors during December. Once I moved from the U.S. East Coast to a more temperate climate, however, I did this frequently. Why? Because I've since... — Updated 12/11/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Did you ever wonder what folks During the predawn hours of Nov. 30, night owls and insomniacs in North America may see an eclipse of the moon as our nearest natural satellite drifts through the Earth's shadow as it orbits our... — Updated 12/11/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

A Celestial Soap Opera

Did you ever wonder what folks did for entertainment before we had television and social media? Well, before TV and the internet, there was radio. And before radio – long before radio – there was, well, the sky. People decades... — Updated 11/26/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Winter Stars are Coming

Whenever I spot the constellation Taurus, the bull, rising in the east after dark, I know that winter can't be far behind. Stargazers with vivid imaginations might be able to trace the stars of Taurus into the outline of a bull's... — Updated 11/23/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Seeing the Inner Planets at Dawn

In Roman times, it was known as the god of commerce, travel and thievery. The Greeks called it Hermes, the messenger of the gods, when it appeared at dusk, and they called it Apollo when they saw it at dawn. Today, we know it as... — Updated 11/16/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Demon Star

It's known as Algol, the Demon Star, and it glows diabolically in our sky each year as Halloween approaches. To find it this week, go outdoors during the early evening, and look low toward the northeast. The accompanying sky map... — Updated 11/7/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

A Halloween Blue Minimoon

Once every blue moon, weird things will happen. Who could possibly expect anything less from 2020? So, when I tell you that, on Halloween night, we'll experience an unusual situation in the heavens, you surely won't be surprised.... — Updated 11/3/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Are We Alone?

Who among us has never gazed into a starry night sky and wondered, "Are we alone in the universe?" With the hundreds of billions of stars in just our own Milky Way galaxy – many like our own sun – is it not possible that,... — Updated 10/30/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Shine on Harvest Moon

If you're looking to score some points with your sweetie, here's a great idea. Late on the afternoon of Sept. 30 or Oct. 1, pack a romantic picnic and a blanket, and head toward a hilltop with a nice, clear view of both the... — Updated 10/28/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Encounter with the Red Planet

It was Halloween eve 1938. Millions of war-jittery Americans listened as special news bulletins reported that the tiny town of Grover's Mill, New Jersey, had been captured by invaders from Mars. It was only a radio play – a... — Updated 10/20/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Celestial Dragon

While leading one of my popular Night Sky Tours recently, our discussion somehow turned to the constellation of Draco, the dragon. Draco isn't one of the top 10 stellar groupings that people can name, but I was surprised that, when... — Updated 10/2/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Finding Neptune After Dark

Scientists are in the business of classifying everything from butterflies to rocks to clouds to stars. And sometimes, when new understanding becomes available, they must go back and reclassify things to make them better fit the... — Updated 9/21/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Watery Moon

When the full moon rises in the east around sunset on Sept. 1, many stargazers around the globe will be watching. To the eye, the full moon commands respect. Not only does its rising orb appear much larger than it actually is ... — Updated 9/17/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Little Big Mars... Redux

They say nothing can live forever, but I strongly disagree. Post something absurd on the internet, and I guarantee it will never go away. In fact, it will come back to life time and time and time again. A perfect example is the... — Updated 9/11/2020

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Messier's Celestial Goldmine

At this time of year, early-evening stargazers can tour one of the richest pieces of celestial real estate: the Milky Way. Viewing the Milky Way on a clear August night is a truly marvelous experience. Wispy bunches of stars ... — Updated 9/3/2020

 

A Stunning Celestial Sparkler

Every year around this time, I can expect my email inbox to overflow and my phone to begin ringing. Folks who spend time outdoors during early-evening hours in mid-January frequently notice a brilliantly sparkling diamond low in... — Updated 1/11/2017

 

Well, That's a Star of a Different Color!

I've been gazing skyward for more than five decades, and in that time I've learned a few things. One is that novice stargazers have some deeply ingrained misconceptions about the heavens. For example, many think that we cannot see... — Updated 1/6/2017

 

The First Meteor Shower of 2017

If you missed the Geminid meteor shower of mid-December (and most of us did because of bright moonlight), you've got another chance. Not with the Geminids, of course -- they won't return until next December -- but with the... — Updated 12/29/2016

 

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