Articles written by dennis mammana
Sorted by date Results 26 - 50 of 140
Three Decades of Stargazing!
It's hard to believe, but it will be 30 years on Aug. 19 since I published my first "Stargazers" column. Over those years, we've seen eclipses darken the land, planets converge in the sky or transit across the sun, meteor showers... — Updated 8/30/2022
Ring World: Saturn
It's often been said that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so if I were to ask which is the most beautiful of all the planets, I would expect a variety of answers. Some might say it's the delicate white crescent of Venus; ot... — Updated 8/23/2022
Summertime is on its way!
Officially, the summer solstice arrives this year on June 21 at 2:14 a.m. PDT (5:14 a.m. EDT). This time marks the exact moment when the sun reaches its farthest northward point over the Earth and signals the onset of summertime... — Updated 7/5/2022
Seeing the Solar System
Many celestial phenomena excite stargazers, but few are as cool as the one you can see during the next two weeks. Your only challenge will be forcing yourself to head outdoors before sunrise! If you do, and if you have a very low... — Updated 6/27/2022
The Twilight Zone
If you find yourself occasionally checking around for times of sunset, it might never have occurred to you to ask the question: "Just what is sunset, anyway?" Seems like a ridiculous question; everyone knows what sunset is, right?... — Updated 6/21/2022
Seeing the 'Unseeable'
On a recent visit to my orthopedic surgeon's office, I was struck by her remarkable ability to point out even the smallest anomalies on my knee X-rays and MRIs. "How in the world did she ever spot those?" I remember thinking. The... — Updated 6/2/2022
Make Friends with Vega
Of all the books I've read during my nearly six decades of stargazing – and there have been a lot – my favorite isn't a technical tome like you might imagine. It's actually the inspirational and romantic autobiography of the... — Updated 5/25/2022
A Cosmic Coverup!
I just love eclipses. Not only are they fun to watch, but an eclipse is one of the few cosmic phenomena where we can see the movement of our heavens. If you're as intrigued by these celestial events as I am, then you must plan to... — Updated 5/19/2022
Seeing Red in the Night Sky
Beginning stargazers are often disappointed when they cannot see the glorious colors that appear in celestial photographs taken by massive telescopes. Experienced sky watchers know that this is because the human eye's color... — Updated 5/19/2022
A Planetary String of Pearls
A beautiful string of planetary pearls shines at dawn right now, but one of the coolest sights of the early morning sky is completely invisible. Well, sort of. Stargazers who know something about astronomy can find it every night... — Updated 5/3/2022
The Falling Stars of April
I had just begun one of my popular outdoor Night Sky Tours the other night when my guests erupted with gasps and cheers. While I wanted to believe that it was my captivating repartee that excited them, I knew exactly what had... — Updated 5/3/2022
Old Moon in the New Moon's Arms
It's amazing how the sky can be such a great memory trigger. I remember as a child racing home from school each day to watch "Superman" on television as the comforting aroma of my Mom's cooking would waft through the house. It was... — Updated 4/19/2022
Enjoying This Week's Full Moon
Last week, the delicate crescent moon appeared in the west at dusk; this week we can look forward to seeing a brilliant full moon illuminating the east around the same time. When the full moon rises around sunset on Friday and... — Updated 4/19/2022
Finding the Horse and Rider
We terrestrial stargazers have it easy. We orbit a single star, and we look out at the starry heavens and believe that all stars are like the sun. In some ways that's true. All are globes of mostly hydrogen that shine by a process... — Updated 4/15/2022
Finding the 'Dinky Dipper'
Pay attention to your everyday world and you'll soon realize that we're surrounded by astronomical words. The days of the week are named after the five visible planets, the sun and the moon. Go to a theater and you may see a film b... — Updated 4/4/2022
What Time Is It?
Here we are at that magical time of year when I encounter a surprising number of people who believe that we lose an hour by resetting our clocks forward from "standard" time to "daylight saving" or "summer" time. It's a ritual... — Updated 3/22/2022
A Rivalry of Cosmic Proportions
Gazing into the dark, starry heavens of a cool springtime evening is one of the most delightful and tranquil experiences one can have. Often the most dramatic event we might experience is to watch as a meteor rips across our sky.... — Updated 3/22/2022
Finding the Celestial Lion
I've been fortunate to spend more than three decades working in some of our nation's great planetariums and, as springtime approaches each year, I always think back to elementary school and those wonderful field trips to... — Updated 3/7/2022
Big Dipper Through the Millennia
Decades of living and working on this planet have taught me many lessons, but one appears truer than most: Whatever seems temporary is permanent, and whatever seems permanent is temporary. This applies everywhere: buildings,... — Updated 3/4/2022
Measuring Heights with Shadows
Sharp-eyed observers may have noticed that, since the first day of winter more than a month ago, the sun has climbed higher in our midday sky. Of course, the sun will continue its daily climb until the first day of summer when it... — Updated 3/1/2022
Find the Celestial Beehive
Every year around this time, when it seems that wintertime will just never end, I begin looking for signs of springtime. As a child, I'd spend part of each February day on my knees in my mom's garden, brushing away the snow in... — Updated 2/25/2022
The Celestial River
You can stand outside every night of the year and you won't see stars more brilliant than those of winter. Most remarkable is that during the early evening hours right now you can find three-quarters of the 50 most brilliant stars... — Updated 2/8/2022
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
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
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