About Dennis

For nearly five decades, Dennis Mammana has delivered the wonder and mystery of the cosmos to audiences around the world. Dennis was born and raised 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. 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 using the 24-inch (0.61-meter) telescope of the Arthur J. Dyer Observatory. After earning his M.S. in astronomy, Dennis 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 Theatre & 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, Patrick Stewart, and others, and has collaborated with science fiction icon Arthur C. Clarke. A longtime member of the National Association of Science Writers, Dennis is the author of six books on popular astronomy―including the first-ever book about the search for extra- solar planetary systems―as well as hundreds of popular magazine and encyclopedia articles, planetarium and video scripts and blogs. Since 1992, he has written Stargazers , the only syndicated weekly newspaper column about astronomy, now in its 29th consecutive year. As an accomplished night sky photographer, his stunning celestial images have earned him an invited membership in TWAN (The World at Night). He is one of only six Americans on this elite international team of the most experienced and highly acclaimed night sky photographers on the planet. 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 . April of 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of his first published sky photo. A dynamic public speaker, Dennis has entertained, inspired, and informed audiences at resorts, museums, corporate events and on cruise ships, including Sitmar, Radisson Seven Seas, Hurtigruten, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and more. In January of 2021, he will return for his 25th year as an invited enrichment lecturer with Crystal Cruises , the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line. Since 1986, Dennis has led many public observing and sky photo expeditions to more than 50 countries on six continents. 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 witnessed and photographed 18 total solar eclipses. Since 1994 he has been a popular astronomical and photographic lecturer on tours offered by MWT Associates . He 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 a 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 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. Dennis now works as an astronomy writer, lecturer, and photographer under the clear, dark skies of Southern California's Anza-Borrego Desert. To learn more about him and his work, please "Like" and follow him on Facebook and Twitter , and subscribe to his free e- newsletter StarTrails so you don't miss any of his upcoming events!
© 2020 Dennis L Mammana.  All rights reserved.
Bet you didn’t know… Dennis’ first views and photos of “unseen worlds” came not through a telescope, but a microscope. This led to him winning a Grand Championship in an elementary school science fair project. While growing up, he had the unusual hobby of collecting license plates. His unique collection of U.S. and foreign license plates won four consecutive World Championships (1964-67). During his senior year of high school, his football team outscored its opponents by a whopping 317-72 and finished the 1968 season ranked 1 st in Pennsylvania and 2 nd in the nation. He sat out five games with a broken left hand. During his junior and senior years of college, he served as President of the Epsilon Chapter of the Sigma Zeta National Science & Mathematics Honor Society. On the evening of Nov. 16, 1971, Otterbein College’s roof-top observatory in which he was working caught fire. There were no injuries, but the telescope and observatory were destroyed. In early January of 1986, he was a candidate for NASA’s Journalist in Space program. Just weeks later the Space Shuttle Challenger accident grounded the fleet and the program was canceled. When not spending time with his head in the stars, he enjoys cooking Italian food, sports, weight-training, exploring the desert canyons in his 4x4, watching reruns of Gunsmoke, taking naps, and relentlessly pursuing the perfect Philly cheesesteak sandwichnot necessarily in that order.
Bringing the universe down to Earth…  Dennis L Mammana Astronomer