Dave Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine and science popularizer, brings you thoughts about astronomy, cosmology, nature, the hobby of astronomy, the sometimes disturbingly pseudoscientific culture we live in, and more.
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A Starmus video for your weekend enjoyment

Posted 2 days ago by David Eicher
This week saw the announcement of the 2016 Starmus Festival slated for June of next year in Tenerife. While you ponder travel plans for this incredible event, a tribute to Stephen Hawking, here’s a video of highlights from the 2014 Starmus to whet your appetite. cs_setInnerHtml('video_b459bbd0-f052-49ea-8fb5-1476fd21f507',''); Credit: Starmus Festival...
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Rusty Schweickart's new planetary defense blog posted!

Posted 4 days ago by David Eicher
More progress on the Asteroid Day front: Please check out Rusty Schweickart’s new planetary defense blog posted today. Here is a great story about what you can do to help!...
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URGENT: Thirty Meter Telescope needs your help!

Posted 4 days ago by David Eicher
If you haven't heard, there is an ongoing situation with the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea. Protests have now endangered the project and threaten its existence. If you care about science, PLEASE GO TO THIS SURVEY AND LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!This Thursday, April 30, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) will hold a special meeting of the Board of Trustees to discuss Mauna Kea and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). It is very likely that the board will take a vote that wi...
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Reorganized Astronomy Foundation holds annual meeting

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
The Astronomy Foundation, the outreach group formed by telescope executives in 2010, has had a long year of dormancy. Seeking 501(c)3 nonprofit status, the group has received that designation now and recently held its annual board meeting in conjunction with the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, New York. The meeting, held April 18, 2015, consisted of President David Eicher, Vice President Karen Jennings, Secretary Scott Kardel, Treasurer Rick Hedrick, Executive Director Steve Cullen,...
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Starmus Festival announced for summer 2016 in Tenerife

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
This morning in London, Garik Israelian, Brian May, Stephen Hawking, and Carlos Alonso announced the next Starmus Festival, which will take place June 27–July 2, 2016, in Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. The conference will pay tribute to Stephen Hawking, with the theme being “Beyond the Horizon — Tribute to Stephen Hawking.” Among the speakers lined up thus far are Neil deGrasse Tyson, Chris Hadfield, Martin Rees, Adam Riess, Rusty Schweickart, Eric Bet...
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Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference 2015

Posted 6 days ago by David Eicher
So much has happened in the last few days that I am still desperately trying to catch up after my return from New York. One of the great events I had the pleasure to attend was the annual Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference (NEAIC), a specialized pair of days dedicated to capturing the sky with cameras. This event, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Suffern, New York, April 16–17, 2015, showcased a wide variety of expert speakers on astrophotography. First, special thanks to Bob Moore, Mike ...
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Alexei Leonov to speak in London on May 21

Posted 6 days ago by David Eicher
The legendary cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first human to walk in space, will give a rare public talk in London on May 21, 2015. The venue will be the IMAX Theatre at the great Science Museum in London, just south of Hyde Park. Here is press information from the British Interplanetary Society (BIS): Date:  May 21, 2015Start Time:  7 p.m. (doors open 6:30 p.m.)Finish Time:  8 p.m.; book signing 8–9 p.m.Venue:  IMAX Theatre, The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South...
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Odyssey of Knowledge set for tomorrow in Athens

Posted 9 days ago by David Eicher
 THE ODYSSEY OF KNOWLEDGE 1st International Conference of Science and ArtsCommemorative Tribute:Hypatia from Alexandria (A.D. 370-415)         SATURDAY, APRIL 25th       AUDITORIUM "ATHINA 9.84" TECHNOPOLIS OF MUNICIPALITY OF ATHENSConference Theme"Humans and their Path to Knowledge at Times to Self-sacrifice" Leading personalities of the global scientific community, such as    the world-class evolutionary...
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Director Grigorij Richters launches 51 Degrees North feature film Kickstarter campaign

Posted 11 days ago by David Eicher
51 Degrees North is a new feature film project supported by the Asteroid Day Foundation and Films United. A 30-day Kickstarter campaign will launch today, Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, to support the film’s official release on June 30, 2015. Brian May, famed lead guitarist for Queen and astrophysicist, is among the first to support the campaign. May composed the central soundtrack of 51 Degrees North. He notes that, “This is a movie to change perspectives, and now th...
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Northeast Astronomy Forum, part two

Posted 11 days ago by David Eicher
I spent April 9–20 in the New York City area. I spoke at the New York/New Jersey Mineral Show, spent a few days vacationing in the city, and then closed out the trip with covering the annual Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference and Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, about an hour’s journey outside the city. More on all these events to come over the next few days. This serves as a second report on NEAF, the largest of the events, which draws some 2,000 or more people to Rockla...
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Northeast Astronomy Forum, part one

Posted 12 days ago by David Eicher
Wow. I am utterly exhausted after spending April 9–20 in the New York City area. I spoke at the New York/New Jersey Mineral Show, spent a few days vacationing in the city, and then closed out the trip with covering the annual Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference and Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, about an hour’s journey outside the city. More on all these events to come over the next few days. This serves as a first report on NEAF, the largest of the events, which draws s...
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RIP Walter H. Haas, lunar and planetary champion

Posted 26 days ago by David Eicher
Very sad news this morning on the death of Walter H. Haas (1917–2015), founder and director emeritus of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO), at the age of 97. Few astronomy enthusiasts did more over the past decades for amateur astronomy, heartily encouraging the study of the Moon and planets, careful observations and photography, and for years pushing for the now fully functional collaboration between amateur and professional astronomers. Walter was always an exception...
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Speaking next weekend at the New York/New Jersey Mineral, Fossil, Gem & Jewelry Show

Posted 27 days ago by David Eicher
I have a two-part trip to New York City looming, after a few days of finishing our magazine’s annual budget. Next weekend I’ll be speaking at the New York/New Jersey Mineral Show, having been graciously invited by my friend, mineral expert Justin Zzyzx. I will join a nice lineup of speakers and will be delivering “Minerals on Earth . . . and Beyond,” next Friday, April 10th, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, April 11th, at 5 p.m. I will talk a little bit about the Moon and Mars...
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Exclusive online story, "Why the asteroid threat should be taken seriously," now live!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
In the wake of the announcement of Asteroid Day, I found myself seeing all manner of debates online, between astronomy enthusiasts, about the realities of danger from asteroids impacting Earth. The opinions were all over the map. And so I began a several-weeks-long project of writing a detailed story about the realities of asteroid impacts, past and future. I consulted the work of Paul Chodas, Don Yeomans, Mark Boslough, Alan Harris, Rusty Schweickart, Hal Levison, Luke Dones, and other top-flig...
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Join Astronomy, Discover, Celestron, and SciStarter at the World Science Festival

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
There’s an exciting event coming to New York City on May 27–31, 2015: The five-day celebration of science known as the World Science Festival will host hundreds of thousands flocking to the Big Apple. Astronomy magazine, our sister publication Discover magazine, our close friends and partners at Celestron, and the citizen-science group SciStarter will all join together to help make the World Science Festival an unforgettable event. I will be on hand as will Discover’s Editor-in...
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Watch Eric Chaisson's important cosmic evolution interview

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
I’m having a delightful time discussing lots of topics with a stellar array of astronomers for my new Superstars of Astronomy audio podcast series. You can listen to the interviews here.But I want to highlight one existing video interview I stumbled across while chatting with Eric Chaisson at Harvard: Eric’s interview with WGBH is something that every astronomy enthusiast should watch. You can see it here.You will really enjoy it! Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.c...
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UPDATED: "The Odyssey of Knowledge" set for April 25 in Athens

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
One of the most amazing people I met at last year’s Starmus Festival was Alexandros Hahalis, a Greek composer, musician, and science enthusiast. Along with Rick Wakeman and Katerina Mina, Alexandros put on the special musical program that served as a tribute to Neil Armstrong and Alexei Leonov. Now Alexandros will be producing “The Odyssey of Knowledge,” an international scientific conference to be held Saturday, April 25, 2015, at the Technopolis Auditorium of the Municipality...
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Check out the video for "Rainbow of Light" with Katerina Mina

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Last week I wrote about the new song “Rainbow of Light,” written by English songwriter Linda Lamon and performed magnificently by soprano Katerina Mina. Now I can share the YouTube video of this song, written for the International Year of Light, which features images by our good friend and superb astroimager Damian Peach. Enjoy! cs_setInnerHtml('video_8e707356-1ef1-45a4-b9c8-fb999b0030fe',''); Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Membership invited to Astronomy Foundation annual board meeting at NEAF

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The Astronomy Foundation, the first and only telescope industry association, will hold its annual meeting at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in Suffern, New York, on Saturday, April 18, 2015. The Astronomy Foundation general membership is invited to attend and to voice their input on the group’s future activities, mostly centered on promoting astronomy outreach. This past year, the Astronomy Foundation secured its 501(c)3 nonprofit status and is now ready to organize and promote activities. ...
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Linda Lamon's beautiful "Rainbow of Light" song features Katerina Mina!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Want a good way to celebrate Friday? How about listening to a beautiful new song, “Rainbow of Light,” which was inspired by the Starmus Festival. The song celebrates UNESCO’s International Year of Light 2015. Written by English songwriter and musician Linda Lamon, the beautiful track features the amazing singing talent of soprano Katerina Mina, who wowed the audience at Starmus. You can listen to the song here, on SoundCloud.The press release follows:SONG INSPIRED BY THE S...
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Faroe Islands adventures

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
On Friday, March 20, our group viewed what we could of the total solar eclipse from a site close to Tórshavn, Faroe Islands. The day before, and the two days following, however, we had a variety of adventures in and around Tórshavn, the largest city in the islands, and in Klaksvik, the second largest city.These included wandering around looking at the beautiful and historic buildings of this amazing island chain. Much of the history involves stories of Vikings, but other settlers p...
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Total eclipse day in the Faroes 2015

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Well, what can I say? Our group of 50 Astronomy magazine readers, led by MWT Associates, went for totality in the Faroe Islands on Friday, March 20, 2015, as did thousands of travelers here. In the end, we did not see the eclipse. The skies simply clouded us out. But we saw the light drop down to virtually nothing, and come up again, along with some weird horizon twilight effects during totality around the edges of the sky, peeking through the cloud deck. We also saw the emergence of the Sun&rsq...
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Eclipse Day!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Well, the big day is here!Yesterday, Thursday, March 19, our group of explorers had another unusual day in the Faroe Islands, between Iceland and the edge of the United Kingdom. I started off the day with a lecture to the group, “Does the Universe Really Care about Itself?,” the same talk I delivered at the Starmus Festival last fall.We then ventured out for a 6-mile (10 kilometers) walk across the top of the mountain, and we had light to moderate rain pretty much the whole time. Tha...
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50th anniversary of Alexei Leonov's historic first spacewalk

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Yesterday, our tour group scrambled from Iceland to the Faroe Islands, hopeful to view Friday’s total solar eclipse, despite some grim weather predictions.As we traveled, the world of spaceflight marked a hugely important anniversary.On March 18, 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov made the first ever human spacewalk, venturing outside his space capsule for 12 minutes during the Voskhod 2 mission. As has been written about many times, Leonov had a difficult time squeezing back into the sp...
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One of the greatest auroral storms I have ever seen in my life

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Late in the day on Tuesday, March 17, on Iceland’s south shore, Astronomy’s 2015 eclipse tour group stopped for a wonderful dinner. We had lobster and all manner of trimmings in huge bowls in a lovely roadside inn after a very long day of touring spectacular sights (see the other blog about today).And then, with a sky that had cleared completely throughout the day, we had an incredible treat. A solar storm was raging in Earth’s atmosphere, caused by a coronal mass ejection from...
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Iceland's South Shore and lectures

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
On Tuesday, March 17, we donned our green and went exploring along Iceland’s southern coastline, seeing an incredible array of waterfalls, an immense ice-capped volcanic caldera, some beautiful historical villages and museums, and other treasures.But first, we endured lectures by myself and noted astroimager Dennis Mammana. Dennis delivered his humor and experience to our group of 50 with a big collection of tips about how to photograph the fast-approaching eclipse. I went through the ecli...
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Astronomy eclipse expedition explores Iceland

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
On our second day, March 16, the 2015 Astronomy magazine eclipse tour group focused on the remarkable geology and history of Iceland. We got a firm start in Reykjavik, the country’s capital and by far the largest city (with some two-thirds of the entire population in the Reykjavik area), our group swelled to some 50 people with a few more joining us.We took a second drive around the city, stopping at a couple of important places, such as the former French consulate, Höfði, where i...
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Astronomy's 2015 eclipse trip begins in Reykjavik, Iceland

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Following our journeys from various places in the United States, the 35 travelers on Astronomy magazine’s 2015 eclipse tour met up in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, on Sunday morning, March 15, 2015. We then commenced a nine-day trip that will allow us to explore the amazing geology of various places in Iceland, as well as travel to the Faroe Islands on Wednesday in hopes of seeing next week’s total solar eclipse. These are hardy travelers, many of whom have seen previous eclips...
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Astronomy.FM talks comets with Alan Hale, Jim Scotti, and David Eicher

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The Internet astronomy radio show on Astronomy.FM, “Comet Watch,” has just recorded and posted a lengthy program about comets, featuring interviews and discussions with several prominent comet scientists and enthusiasts. The episode is hosted by English enthusiasts Nick Evetts and Neil Norman and features Alan Hale — celebrated codiscoverer of the famous Comet Hale-Bopp; Jim Scotti — comet scientist at the University of Arizona and comet discoverer; and David Eicher ...
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Headed to Iceland/Faroes for total eclipse

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Later today, I'll be heading down to Chicago to partner with Celestron at the National Science Teachers Association national meeting.Saturday morning, I'll be flying to Iceland along with our travel partner, MWT Associates, for an Astronomy readers’ tour of the marvelous geological features. On March 20, we'll be in the Faroe Islands, between Iceland and Scotland, for this year's big total solar eclipse.See you on the other side!Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deichersta...

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