For nearly five decades, Dennis Mammana has delivered the wonder and mystery of the cosmos to audiences around the world. Dennis grew up in Easton, PA, a historic city at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers, and his fascination with the heavens began with the launching of the first Earth-orbiting satellites in the late-1950s. He now works as an astronomy writer, lecturer and photographer under the clear, dark skies of Southern California's Anza-Borrego Desert. With a degree in physics and astronomy from Otterbein College (now Otterbein University), he was one of only two astronomy graduate students admitted to Vanderbilt University in 1973. His research there included a year-long photometric study of optical variability in the nuclei of three distant Seyfert Galaxies with the 24- inch (0.61-meter) telescope of the Arthur J. Dyer Observatory . After successfully completing graduate school, Mammana was selected from a field of 55 applicants for a coveted one-year internship at the world-famous Strasenburgh Planetarium, and has since held positions at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum, the University of Arizona, and San Diego's Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater & Science Center. His original planetarium programs have been enjoyed from New York to Calcutta to Brisbane, and in their production he has directed such luminaries as actors Burgess Meredith and Patrick Stewart, and has collaborated with science fiction icon Arthur C. Clarke. Mammana is the author of six books on popular astronomy―including co-authoring the first-ever book about the search for extra-solar planetary systems―as well as hundreds of popular magazine articles, scripts, and blogs. Since 1986 he has been a regular contributor to Grolier (now Scholastic) Encyclopedia, and since 1992, he has written Stargazers , the only syndicated weekly newspaper column about astronomy, now in its 27th consecutive year. In 1985 he was a candidate for NASA’s Journalist in Space program; just months later the Space Shuttle Challenger accident grounded the fleet and cancelled the program. As a noted and accomplished night sky photographer, his stunning celestial imagery has earned him an invited membership in TWAN (The World at Night). He is one of only six representing the U.S. in this elite international team of the most experienced and highly-acclaimed night sky photographers on the planet. April 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of his first published night sky photo. His work has appeared in books, videos, international magazines and exhibitions, and has been featured nine times as NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day and dozens of times on the front page of Spaceweather . A dynamic public speaker, Mammana has entertained, inspired and informed audiences at resorts, museums, corporate events and with cruise lines, including Sitmar, Radisson Seven Seas, Hurtigruten, Royal Caribbean, and more; in early 2019 he returned for his 23rd year as an invited enrichment lecturer with Crystal Cruises , the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line. Since the mid-1980s, Mammana has led many public celestial observing and photographic expeditions to more than 50 countries on six continents and, since 1994, has been a popular lecturer on tours offered by MWT Associates . He has traveled to the arctic and subarctic more than 30 times over the past two decades to view, photograph and lecture about the aurora borealis (the northern lights), and has 18 total solar eclipses under his belt. Mammana has hosted a weekly astronomy news segment on San Diego's KUSI-TV, and co-hosted "Quarks to Quasars" on UCSD-TV as well as the Emmy Award-winning documentary "San Diego Night Sky" with KPBS-TV. He is the recipient of the Robert Burnham Jr., Award for Exceptional Service in Astronomy from the Astronomical League and the Special Achievement Award from Otterbein College. In 2009 his astronomical contributions to the community of Borrego Springs (the only International Dark Sky Community in California) were honored as he was named Grand Marshal of the 44th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival. When not spending time with his head in the stars, he enjoys cooking home-style Italian food, sports, weight-training, exploring the desert canyons in his Jeep 4x4, watching reruns of Gunsmoke , taking naps, and relentlessly pursuing the perfect Philly cheesesteak sandwich not necessarily in that order. To learn more about him and his work―and to see his public lecture & tour schedule―please visit his website , "Like" and follow him on Facebook and on Twitter , and subscribe to his free e-newsletter StarTrails so you don't miss any of his upcoming events!
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