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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Starmus seats still available — last chance for superstar extravaganza!

Posted 13 hours ago by David Eicher
The greatest science festival of them all is rapidly approaching: Starmus 3, to be held June 27–July 2, 2016. Never before has an all-star lineup like this existed!! You will see and meet: Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, Richard Dawkins, Jill Tarter, Brian May, Rick Wakeman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sarah Brightman, Alexei Leonov, Hans Zimmer, Adam Riess, May-Britt Moser, Kip Thorne, Carol Greider, Chris Hadfield, Brian Greene, Brian Cox, Brian Eno, Martin Rees, Rusty Schweickart, and many oth...
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Watch Dave Eicher’s Harvard talk online

Posted 18 hours ago by David Eicher
Many thanks to all of you who came to my talk last week at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. It was a wonderful experience, with great crowd participation and terrific questions. Thanks also to the Harvard Coop Bookstore for bringing along copies of The New Cosmos — I think I signed nearly 50 of them. Altogether, we had 250 people in Phillips Auditorium and in the two overflow rooms, and I have rarely seen such enthusiasm. What a great night. I spoke on my new book and the m...
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Starmus 3 full schedule announced!

Posted 8 days ago by David Eicher
The third Starmus Festival is fast approaching, just six weeks away now. It will take place again in the Canary Islands, on Tenerife and La Palma, and will bring together a spectacular assortment of scientists, musicians, and artists to celebrate the cosmos. The tribute this year will honor the magnificent career of Stephen Hawking. I will be there and will look forward to seeing many of you. Please see the following for the program announcement . . . STARMUS III PRESENTS:  BEYOND THE HORIZ...
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Jordan Rice to become Astronomy’s first student science writer

Posted 12 days ago by David Eicher
This summer the Astronomy staff will be aided by our first ever student fellow, Jordan Rice of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Jordan is a junior at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where she is studying astrophysics and math. The program enabling Jordan to join the Astronomy staff for 10 weeks this summer resulted from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, based at Carthage College. Jordan is a teaching assistant at Carthage and president of the Society of Physics Students. She is also tea...
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AstroCATS meeting set for London, Ontario

Posted 13 days ago by David Eicher
If you’re in the area of Toronto next week, you’ll definitely want to attend the AstroCATS astronomy meeting. This meeting has grown over the past several years to become a significant telescope show, much like the Northeast Astronomy Forum in New York. (The CATS part of the name stands for Canadian Astronomy Telescope Show.) The meeting will be held May 21–22, 2016, at Fanshawe College, in London, Ontario, in conjunction with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada General As...
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Dave Eicher to speak next week at Harvard

Posted 13 days ago by David Eicher
Join David Eicher for a lecture, book signing, and celebration of the stars at Harvard University’s Phillips Auditorium, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Thurs., May 19, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Monthly Observatory Night Thursday, May 19, 20167:30 p.m.: Author’s Night. The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big QuestionsDavid Eicher, Astronomy magazineOver the past decade, astronomers have answered — or are closing in on the answers to &md...
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Follow Max Alexander in Chicxulub

Posted 14 days ago by David Eicher
You can follow Asteroid Day’s Max Alexander as he travels around the Yucatán Peninsula this week during a particularly exciting time. Scientists are drilling into the Chicxulub Crater, some 200 kilometers wide, to gain information about its nature in the most detailed way yet. Some 66 million years ago, a 10km asteroid plunged into the Yucatán, forming the crater, and causing a prolonged nuclear winter that killed much of life on Earth, including the dinosaurs. Discover magaz...
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Starmus in the New York Times!

Posted 14 days ago by David Eicher
Please read this story just out a few days ago in the New York Times, written by Nina Burleigh. It describes the great evolution of the Canary Islands into a stargazer’s paradise, and specially talks about our friend Garik Israelian and the Starmus Festival. What a wonderful story! And I do hope that you will be coming to the Starmus Festival, June 27–July 2, 2016, in Tenerife. It will be a magnificent time.Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his Author Page on Facebo...
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RIP Harry Kroto, 1939 - 2016

Posted 22 days ago by David Eicher
The world of science lost a great man this weekend with the death of Sir Harold Kroto, FRS, an exceptional professor of chemistry and an amazing thinker. Harry was a Nobel Prize laureate for his 1985 co-discovery of carbon-60, which he named buckminsterfullerene, after the molecule’s shape, which resembled a geodesic dome. You may know the molecules as a buckyball. Laboratory research leading to the discovery that such molecules could form spontaneously from carbon vapor followed simulatio...
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Uwingu says - Make an impact on mom with an Uwingu Mother's Day gift!

Posted 25 days ago by David Eicher
We have a new campaign to honor moms for Mother’s Day 2016 with place names on its Mars map or subscriptions to its daily emailed space image service.Today through Mother’s Day on May 8th, Uwingu is offering decorative Mother’s Day certificates for anyone choosing to honor a mom with a named crater on our Mars map. Two certificate options are available: an electronic downloadable version and a beautifully printed and framed keepsake version. Uwingu’s Mars Map will be...
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Win a copy of THE NEW COSMOS!

Posted 28 days ago by David Eicher
Here’s your chance to pick up an autographed copy of my latest book, The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions. You can visit (and like!) my official Facebook page between April 18 and May 2, 2016, for your chance to win! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his Author Page on Facebook....
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Stephen Hawking will be honored at Starmus by the Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, global recording artist Sarah Brightman, and Anathema

Posted 28 days ago by David Eicher
  Starmus will have its musical agenda through shows like the Sonic Universe concert, in which Hans Zimmer, Sarah Brightman, and Anathema will offer exclusive performances.   From June 27 to July 2, Tenerife will become the meeting place for the brightest minds in the world in the fields of science and music. Madrid, April 26, 2016. Make science accessible and enjoy exclusive artistic performances inspired by the universe is the spirit of Starmus Festival. And in its third editio...
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Win a signed copy of THE NEW COSMOS!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Here’s your chance to pick up an autographed copy of my latest book, The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions. You can visit (and like!) my official Facebook page between April 18 and May 2, 2016, for your chance to win! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his Author Page on Facebook....
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Astronomy online story an award finalist

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Congratulations to Eric Betz, Chuck Braasch, Marie Kieckbusch, and the entire Astronomy magazine team that assembled our online feature story on the movie The Martian. This interactive digital story has been named a finalist in the Magazine Publishers Association Imagination Awards 2016, which recognize projects that capture the essence of a magazine brand, demonstrating innovative thinking and imaginative tactics. Eric has since moved over to become an associate editor of Discover magazine, acr...
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Is It Just Me, Or Are Asteroids More Dangerous Than They Used to Be?

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Every week we read about dangerous asteroids that whiz past our planet. How dangerous are the actual threats? Courtesy of the team at Asteroid Day, please enjoy the blog, which lays out a straight and sober reality. Thanks to Eric Christensen, director of the Catalina Sky Survey in Tucson, for writing such a nice piece. And for all on Asteroid Day, see Asteroidday.org.Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his Author Page on Facebook....
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Starmus Festival to address global concerns

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
I hope many of you will attend the Starmus Festival in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, June 27–July 2, 2016. I have written extensively about the festival in the April issue of Astronomy. In addition to the previous Starmus plans, Garik Israelian has announced a series of high-level talks on global issues — cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, global warming, threat from asteroids, and status of the global economy. For more on Starmus, see starmus.com. Press release follows ...
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Northeast Astronomy Forum 2016

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The largest telescope show in the United States, the Northeast Astronomy Forum celebrated its 25th anniversary this year with a bang. The show took place at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York, hosted by the Rockland Astronomy Club as always, and capably managed by Ed Siemenn and his talented staff. One of the show’s driving forces, Al Nagler of Tele Vue Optics, was present and all smiles as usual, with a huge crowd surrounding the Tele Vue booth. David and Sandy Nagler also bu...
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Eicher book signing at Northeast Astronomy Forum

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
This weekend I’ll be pleased to see many of you at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in Suffern, New York. The event will be held Saturday and Sunday at Rockland Community College and constitutes the largest gathering of astronomy enthusiasts in the country, built around a telescope show. More than 100 telescope manufacturers and dealers will be set up to show their wares. Cambridge University Press has set up a book signing for my new title The New Cosmos, at the Cambridge booth, at 11:30 AM ...
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Read Mark Boslough’s blog on the Jupiter impact

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
As many of you know, a small solar system body impacted Jupiter once again, this time on March 17, 2016, St. Patrick’s Day. Austrian amateur astronomer Gerrit Kernbauer was the first to observe the impact scar. I encourage you to read Mark Boslough’s blog on the Asteroid Day website.Boslough is chair of the Asteroid Day Expert Panel, and a physicist and authority on impacts at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. You can also read an interview with the discoverer.Follow Dave E...
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Asteroid Day’s Don Yeomans: Will asteroid 2013 TX68 strike Earth?

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Please read the expert panel story from JPL’s Don Yeomans, one of Earth’s greatest authorities on asteroid science. Don gives you the straight story on asteroid 2013 TX68, which originally showed a remote possibility of striking Earth, and the confusion and misinformation that has followed. There’s so much poor quality stuff out in social media now that it’s important to get the real story from those who know. This blog will give it to you! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, ...
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Stephen Hawking remembers his best teacher

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
The BBC has just posted a really nice story about Stephen Hawking’s most influential teacher — an Armenian man who escaped genocide with his parents, and went on to affect the world greatly by encouraging Stephen. Dikran Tahta died in 2006, but Stephen has recorded a video commending his teacher, which you can see in the BBC story.Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his Author Page on Facebook....
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David Helfand lecture upcoming

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
If you’re in the New York City area in two weeks, you won’t want to miss an important lecture by astrophysicist David Helfand. A professor at Columbia University and brilliant writer, Helfand will discuss “Climate Change: What We Know and What We Don’t Know” as part of the One Day University live talks. The event will take place March 21, 2016, from 7 to 9 p.m. and will be hosted by Claudia Dreifus of The New York Times. The venue is the New York Institute of T...
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J. Richard Gott on The Cosmic Web

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
When we think of galaxies, we normally think of lots of objects that are very close to us in space. It’s difficult for the very distant galaxies, and very largest structures, to spring into our minds. And yet this is where the highest understanding of how galaxies function, and how the universe is organized, resides — in the large-scale structure of the cosmos. J. Richard Gott, professor of astrophysics at Princeton University, has been at the forefront of extragalactic research for ...
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Dava Sobel issues wonderful Copernicus play, And the Sun Stood Still

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Any lover of science literature knows the wonderful Dava Sobel, and I really count it as a privilege to know her — a wonderful spirit. You probably have read her Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter, The Planets, or A More Perfect Heaven — or at least you should read them. Dava has produced an entertaining work just out that describes an historic encounter of scientists. The story centers on the great Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who of course produced his landmark...
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Paul Spudis’ excellent The Value of the Moon

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Mars is most frequently the watchword in planetary exploration. The majority of NASA’s planetary exploration budget has been focused on it, it’s the next big leap in sending humans out into the solar system, and Buzz Aldrin has admirably led a campaign to publicize the need for a Mars mission with his “Get your *** to Mars” movement. But Mars isn’t the only game in town.Planetary scientist Paul Spudis, well known as a lunar expert for many years and a stalwart ...
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Please support the International Dark-Sky Association!

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
I encourage you to read the letter below, which was just published in The Reflector, the journal of the Astronomical League. In it, John Goss, president of the Astronomical League, Peter Tyson, editor-in-chief of Sky & Telescope, and myself have signed a letter urging astronomy enthusiasts to take action against light pollution. The vanishing night sky is a threat to everyone’s enjoyment of and understanding of the universe we inhabit. We jointly strongly ask you to communicate with an...
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A high precision book on a high precision measurement

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
Two years ago, the Planck mission group at the European Space Agency produced a substantial data release that defined the best-ever measured age of the universe at 13.8 billion years. This was slightly older than previous best estimates. This important moment in defining one of the universe’s fundamental parameters caused John Gribbin, one of our premier science writers, to issue a new book. Gribbin’s 13.8: The Quest to Find the True Age of the Universe and the Theory of Everything, ...
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Take the Asteroid Day Chelyabinsk quiz!

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
What to do on a winter Monday? How about testing your skills on the Chelyabinsk meteorite fall of 2013, which cascaded into Russia, produced an incredible fireball, and unfortunately injured people on the ground. Grig Richters, one of the founders of Asteroid Day, has produced a video blog update on Asteroid Day and a quiz relating to Chelyabinsk. Have fun! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his Author Page on Facebook....
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A book you absolutely must read: David J. Helfand’s A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
I’ve known quite a few astronomers over the years who I consider to be geniuses. And David Helfand is one of them. Former chair of the Department of Astronomy at Columbia University; a founding tutor and president of Quest University in Canada; former president of the American Astronomical Society; and much more, Helfand is a man brimming with incredible insights on the universe. Some of you know that I’ve written about the current miserable state of scientific thinking in this count...
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New era in astronomy begins with gravitational wave detection

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
This morning’s historic press conference in Washington ushered in a new era of astronomy, in a very exciting way. The director of the National Science Foundation, astronomer France Córdova, led the discussion that announced the detection of gravitational waves from two merging black holes, the first such detection in history. Einstein predicted that merging black holes should produce ripples in space-time in his General Theory of Relativity a century ago. And the LIGO project, Laser...

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