Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Articles written by Dennis Mammana

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 By Dennis Mammana    News 

Sneak A Peek at the Springtime Sky

I know it's still quite cold and snowy in many locations, but every year around this time I begin to get excited about the upcoming springtime season of stargazing. During evening hours in late January and early February, we on... — Updated 1/27/2022

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

A Stunning Celestial Sparkler

Don't be surprised if you find yourself picking up the phone this week to report a strange "UFO" in the southeastern sky not long after dark. It will appear as a brilliant light that flickers and sparkles in a multitude of colors.... — Updated 1/27/2022

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

Check Out Monday's Mini-Moon!

At least once a year we hear about the supermoon – when the full moon appears largest in our sky. Why, however, do we rarely hear about the full moon appearing at its smallest? Why doesn't this make the headlines? Why don't we... — Updated 1/24/2022

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

Brightest Stars of the Year

If you haven't been stargazing for a while, you might be surprised to step outdoors under a dark sky to see the stars rising in the east during late December. You may often hear astronomers refer to the winter sky as the most... — Updated 1/14/2022

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News 

An Exciting New Year of Celestial Wonder

Like many people, I enjoy the beginning of a new year. It's always brimming with hope and optimism, as well as endless lists of resolutions we swear we're going to attack, but which usually survive a few days at most. There is one... — Updated 1/13/2022

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Big Moon A-Risin'

Few things in nature are more stunning to watch than an immense and orange full moon rising over the horizon. View this amazing sight just once and you'll surely ask the same question as every other moon gazer: "Why does the moon... — Updated 12/29/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Winter Solstice

One of my favorite days of the year is right around the corner. Christmas? New Year’s Eve? Valentine’s Day? Nope. I’m talking about the first day of winter. Now, lest you think that this ol’ desert rat enjoys the cold, crisp air of the season – or perhaps the snow that... — Updated 12/21/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Buying a First Telescope

During my many public stargazing programs guests frequently ask me, "What kind of telescope should I buy?" My response isn't quite what they expect. If you're considering presenting that special stargazer in your life with a... — Updated 12/21/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Falling Stars of December

Ask any beginning stargazer which they think is the most spectacular meteor shower of the year and I'll bet most will name the Perseid shower of mid-August. Is it really the best, or is their answer influenced by other factors? My... — Updated 12/15/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Shadow on the Moon!

Night owls and insomniacs will be the only ones to witness a rare cosmic alignment this week. On the night of Nov. 18 and the morning of Nov. 19, the full moon drifted slowly into the shadow of the Earth, creating a beautiful... — Updated 12/7/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Finding the Seventh Planet

Many years ago, I was interviewed by a couple of morning radio jokesters in San Diego. Knowing what these guys were like, I was prepared for their silliness and had planned a few good comebacks. Well, to my surprise they played it... — Updated 11/19/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Seeing Double in Perseus

One autumn night in 1971 while I was a junior in college, I hosted a small group in our observatory to view the wonders of the heavens. Shortly after beginning, we smelled smoke, not uncommon during chilly November nights in... — Updated 11/12/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Have a Stellar Halloween!

Ghosts and goblins and ghouls, oh my! That's what many of us will be thinking this coming week as Halloween arrives, and trick-or-treaters pound excitedly at our doors. You will likely encounter monsters, super-heroes, politicians... — Updated 11/1/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Watching Earth-Orbiting Satellites

Baby boomers may recall the first days of spaceflight. It was an exciting time to be a child. From time to time, my father would step into the backyard for an evening smoke, and I would often accompany him to gaze into the starry... — Updated 10/29/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

The Smallest Constellations (Asterisms)

Unlike people, who the U.S. Constitution declares as "being created equal," constellations are most certainly not. In fact, constellations aren't even visible. They are simply regions of the sky that were important to the... — Updated 10/19/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

How Many Stars Are There?

How many stars are there in the universe? No one knows, of course, but Dr. Carl Sagan -- in his popular 1980s television series "Cosmos" – famously said that there are "more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on... — Updated 10/8/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

A Flying Horse, Baseball and Politicians

What do a flying horse, baseball and politicians have in common? Keep reading, and you'll find out. But first, some astronomy! Not long after sunset on Monday evening, gaze toward a low eastern horizon, and you will see a glorious... — Updated 10/4/2021

 
 By Dennis Mammana    News

Finding Watery Constellations

After the drenching that parts of our nation have experienced recently, I almost hesitate to bring this up, but of the 88 constellations that fill our night sky, 15 are somehow associated with water. Of those 15, several appear in... — Updated 9/23/2021

 
 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 9/21/2021

 
 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

 

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