County, noted astronomer Dennis Mammana will lead a seminar and viewing focused on the annual Perseid Meteor Showers

A Resort Astronomy Package In The Acclaimed Anza-Borrego Desert Of Northeastern San Diego County

Anza-Borrego Desert, Calif. (PRWEB) July 30, 2005 — On the nights of Thursday, August 11 and Friday, August 12, 2005 at La Casa del Zorro Desert Resort in the Anza-Borrego Desert of northeastern San Diego

This astronomy package is $299 per night –each night – and includes a deluxe room, the seminar, use of several state-of-the-art telescopes under the direction of a team of experts and three $25 credits – one each for dining, day-spa/salon, and golf/tennis/archery (and more). Tax and gratuities are not included.

USA Today selected the Anza-Borrego Desert as one of America’s “Top 10 Stargazing Communities in San Diego’s” because artificial light is at a minimum, according to a July 31, 2003 article.

Each night, the “Rain of Fire!” seminar is from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will include a lecture, visuals and a question and answer session. From 9:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. and again from 2:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. will be telescope observing of the legendary Perseid Meteor Showers, the very event that motivated Steven Spielberg to produce the recently-released “War of the Worlds” and two of Spielberg’s most definitive movies: 1977′s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and 1982′s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

“I first became aware of the sky when my father pointed out the Perseid meteor shower(s) to me when I was about 6 years old ….”, Spielberg told the USA Today in a June 23, 2005 article.

What captured the famous movie producer’s attention were the celestial fireworks that occur annually in mid-August, when the Earth passes near the orbit of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. The Perseid shower is one of two yearly showers with meteor rates high enough to capture the attention of even the most casual skywatcher. (The other one is December’s Geminids.) In part, the Perseid stand out because Swift-Tuttle is a large comet — its nucleus is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) across. The meteors all seem to radiate from a point in the constellation of Perseus, which is well up in the northeast sky during the evening, and high in the east by dawn.

On August 11, the Perseid meteor shower will probably yield the highest numbers, perhaps increasing to as many as one Perseid every couple of minutes, towards dawn of the 12th. On the 11th, the crescent Moon will be setting in the middle of the evening, so it will do little to spoil the show. The night of the 12th/morning of the 13th will also offer a good show – but not the peak show of the previous night. (As reported by Bill Cooke on

Participants who wish to try their hand at sky photography are encouraged to bring a film or digital camera with remote control, normal or wide-angle lens, a tripod and ISO-200 or -400 color films. Mammana, who earned an M.S. in astronomy from Vanderbilt University and has become internationally known as a sky photographer, will offer tips on capturing the celestial panorama. Mammana has held positions at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, the University of Arizona’s Flandrau Planetarium, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, as well as authoring six books on astronomy, hundreds of popular magazine and encyclopedia articles and, since 1992, has written Stargazers for Copley News Service, the only nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column on astronomy.

Completely surrounded by the acclaimed Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, La Casa del Zorro is located approximately 90 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, about 80 miles south of Palm Springs and under 180 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

About La Casa del Zorro, National Geographic Adventure Magazine reported: “Here’s evidence that adventure lodges don’t need to be rustic.” Zagat ranked La Casa del Zorro as “extraordinary to perfection.” Wine Spectator magazine presented its Award of Excellence to La Casa del Zorro in honor of the resort’s extraordinary collection of over 4,000 bottles of wine from around the world. Even the service is “impeccable,” according to The New York Times, which also reported that the Anza-Borrego desert offers “…the rewards and complexity of a Zen Garden.” The Los Angeles Times calls Anza-Borrego “the real desert.”

For more information, contact the resort at (800) 824-1884.

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