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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Astronomy game show on WGN tomorrow!

Posted 2 days ago by David Eicher
Tomorrow morning, at about 9:40 CT, I’ll be appearing along with anchor Larry Potash on WGN-TV in Chicago. We will be discussing some cool facts from the March issue of Astronomy, which features “500 coolest things about space.” In fact, we will have several contestants and briefly conduct a “game show” in which the people who provide the right answers will garner prizes. You can stream WGN live at http://wgntv.com/on-air/live-streaming.It should be good f...
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Astronomy and Celestron Partner at NSTA National Conference on Science Education

Posted 2 days ago by David Eicher
I’m delighted to say that Celestron, the Los Angeles manufacturer of high-quality telescopes, will partner with Astronomy magazine at the upcoming 2015 National Conference of the National Science Teachers Association in Chicago. The event will take place at McCormick Place on March 12–15. On March 12, I’ll be hosting a workshop, “Digital Microscopes 101,” in which teachers will share their real-world experiences using Celestron digital microscopes in grades 4&n...
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Astronomy coming to Chicago TV this weekend

Posted 3 days ago by David Eicher
The details aren’t exactly set yet, but if you are in the Chicago market, you may see Astronomy magazine and me on TV Friday and Saturday. A couple of appearances are pending to discuss the very popular March issue, our 500th one, which contains that great collection of 500 coolest facts about the cosmos, on newsstands now. See you in Chicago! Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Astronomy's third annual Public Star Party!

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
A whirlwind of activity on my return from Tucson to Milwaukee has prevented me from staying up to date on blogs. But here goes:Astronomy magazine held its third annual Public Star Party in Tucson on Saturday, February 14, at the East Campus of Pima Community College, southeast of the center of the city. Senior Editor Michael Bakich did a great job as always coordinating the speakers and other activities of the star party, and we had several hundred people show up throughout the day. Members of t...
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Check out "A Quest for Shiny Purple Crystals"

Posted 9 days ago by David Eicher
What do rocks and minerals have to do with astronomy? I sometimes get that question from people who wonder why I collect and study mineral specimens. Well, in short, the universe assembles matter in an orderly way and builds solid planets by making minerals. Mineralogy is planetary science, and studying the minerals on Earth gives us a look at our own planet and also the possibilities of how countless other worlds in the universe are made.  I have a friend who is a geologist and artist in O...
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Stephen Hawking gets a Celestron!

Posted 9 days ago by David Eicher
Our great friend Stephen Hawking got a visit from two Celestron employees recently who installed an 11-inch Celestron SCT for his use. Yesterday Stephen posted photos he made with the telescope, and Bryan Cogdell of Celestron has been quite excited after visiting the professor and installing the telescope. In Bryan’s words, “It’s a decked-out CPC Deluxe 1100 HD — I wanted something that could do it all, enough resolving power and focal length to reel in the planets, ...
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Superstars of Astronomy: Garik Israelian

Posted 9 days ago by David Eicher
The second Superstars of Astronomy podcast, an hourlong interview, is now posted on Astronomy’s website. It is a lively discussion with Garik Israelian, founder and director of the Starmus Festival. If you are not familiar with the Starmus Festival, you should be. It is a world-class gathering of astronomy and science enthusiasts, astronomers, astronaut-explorers, cosmologists, musicians, and artists who are celebrating and spreading our knowledge of the cosmos. The second Starmus Festival...
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A visit to Meteorite Man Geoff Notkin's secret lair

Posted 12 days ago by David Eicher
A couple days into the annual Tucson Gem Show, the mecca for meteorite collectors, I ran into my good friend Geoff Notkin. “What are you doing now?” he said. “Wandering around and photographing everything,” I said. “You have to come over and see my new meteorite headquarters,” said Geoff. And so off we went, a short distance away from the mineralogical district of the city, to see Geoff’s new Aerolite Meteorites house, which houses his meteorite dea...
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Meteorites at the Tucson Gem Show: The Aerolite Meteorites room

Posted 12 days ago by David Eicher
As someone who is interested in rocks from space, one of the great pleasures of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is to visit the Aerolite Meteorites room at the Hotel Tucson City Center (formerly the InnSuites). Each year, Geoff Notkin has a wide range of really interesting and incredible specimens, from rare historic pieces to entry-level common stones to exotic pieces from the Moon and Mars. You probably know of Geoff as one half of the Meteorite Men, along with his partner Steve Arnold, from t...
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Meteorites at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Posted 15 days ago by David Eicher
The biggest event of the year for meteorite collectors and enthusiasts has been raging through Tucson, Arizona, for a number of days now. Astronomy magazine is proud to have a presence in Tucson during this big week with our public star party that will be held at Pima Community College, East Campus, this Saturday, February 14. See this link for more.But we are also here to put together some big materials on the observatories in this U.S. capital of astronomy and also to cover meteorites at the...
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Astronomy enthusiast Tammy Plotner dies after struggle with MS

Posted 16 days ago by David Eicher
Sad news from the world of amateur astronomy: Ohio amateur astronomer Tammy Plotner, well known as an energetic observer and author, died on Wednesday after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.She was the author of several books, including Moonwalk with Your Eyes (Springer, 2010) and The Night Sky Companion (Create Space, 2012).You can read an article about Tammy by our good friend Fraser Cain, of Universe Today, for which Tammy contributed much writing.RIP Tammy. You will be missed by the ent...
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A visit to the U.S. Naval Observatory, Flagstaff Station

Posted 16 days ago by David Eicher
February continues to be beautiful in Arizona. Astronomy Senior Editor Michael Bakich and I continued our tour of important astronomical institutions by swinging by the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff. There, astronomer Bob Zavala graciously played host to show us around the entire facility, beginning with the terrific 1.3-meter telescope, a workhorse on many astronomical projects. We then saw the largest and most famous instrument on the campus, the 61-inch Strand astrometric reflector, whi...
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A visit to the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology branch in Flagstaff

Posted 17 days ago by David Eicher
Winter in Flagstaff, Arizona, has been incredibly nice, with temperatures in the 60s (F). What a time it has been coming from frozen Milwaukee to be in a summerlike afternoon with the Sun shining brightly and the mountains and pine forest spreading over the landscape!Following our visit to Lowell Observatory on Monday, Senior Editor Michael Bakich and I traveled to another erstwhile institution in Flagsaff — the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its Astrogeology branch. There, we met ...
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Meteorite expert Dorothy Norton in Tucson

Posted 17 days ago by David Eicher
Wandering the meteorite dealers at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, I was fortunate to be hanging around in Anne Black’s room, Impactika Meteorites, when in walked a legend in the meteorite world. Dorothy Norton, herself a celebrated author on meteorites, is also the widow of O. Richard Norton, the famous meteorite researcher and author who died in 2009. For more on Richard, see this link.It was wonderful to meet Dorothy after all these years. She, Senior Editor Michael Bakich, and I had a...
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Washington Post on Astronomy's 500th Coolest Things

Posted 17 days ago by David Eicher
Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a nice story by Nancy Szokan, “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Stars — and More, from Astronomy magazine,” with some interesting facts from our March issue. This was, as you may know, the 500th issue of the magazine, and we offered up a special package of 500 coolest facts about the universe.You can read the Washington Post story here, and be sure to check out the March issue, on newsstands now....
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Visiting historic Lowell Observatory

Posted 18 days ago by David Eicher
What a day! On Monday, February 9, Astronomy Senior Editor Michael Bakich and I started incredibly early and headed north from Tucson to Flagstaff, Arizona, another key town in the history of astronomy. We conducted a whirlwind tour of several astronomical institutions, beginning with one of my favorite observatories on the planet. Lowell Observatory on Mars Hill in Flagstaff holds a unique position in the history of astronomy. Here, the wealthy Boston astronomy enthusiast Percival Lowell founde...
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Heading to Tucson for star party, observatories, meteorites, and minerals

Posted 22 days ago by David Eicher
Tomorrow I’ll be delighted to be heading west to Tucson for the annual foray into astronomy’s capital in the United States. On Saturday, February 14, Astronomy will be hosting a big public star party, featuring me and Senior Editor Michael Bakich, at the East Campus of Pima Community College. You can read more about the star party here.Michael and I also will be visiting observatories and institutions in Flagstaff — Lowell Observatory, the U.S. Naval Observatory, and the U...
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New Michael Bakich, Mike Reynolds astronomy lab manual

Posted 24 days ago by David Eicher
Here’s a heads-up on the publishing front: The first copies are just out of Astronomy Senior Editor Michael Bakich’s new astronomy lab manual. If you are teaching a course, in school, or are simply interested in astronomy, this is a dynamic new book you should know about. Written by Bakich and Astronomy Contributing Editor Mike Reynolds, the book is Exploring the Universe: A Laboratory Guide for Astronomy (452 pp., paper, Morton Publishing Co., Englewood, Colo., 2015; $79.95, ISBN 97...
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Astronomy's 500th issue on Fox TV Chicago Thursday

Posted 24 days ago by David Eicher
Heads-up for Chicagoland readers: I’ll be appearing on WFLD, Fox TV Chicago, tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. CT, talking about Astronomy magazine’s 500th anniversary issue. We’ll discuss some of those great 500 amazing facts and a little about what’s going on in astronomy and cosmology these days. See you on Thursday! Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Watch Astronomy's 500th issue on The Morning Blend

Posted 25 days ago by David Eicher
Two TV tapings done, one in Chicago on Thursday to go. Today, I had a blast with Tiffany Ogle and Molly Fay on The Morning Blend, at TMJ4 , NBC TV in Milwaukee. You can watch the interview here. I also did a longer interview for Fox News Edge that will be seen on many Fox TV affiliates throughout the United States. What fun! Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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TV appearances set for 500th issue of Astronomy

Posted 26 days ago by David Eicher
After a whirlwind Los Angeles trip to visit telescope manufacturers Celestron and Meade last week, this week has turned crazy because of TV appearances to discuss the already very popular 500th issue of the magazine. Our March 2015 edition, packed with “500 coolest things about space,” is really pleasing readers, grabbing the attention of youngsters, and creating a bit of a splash. I will be delighted to be discussing it on several TV shows this week:• Tues., Feb. 3: WISN T...
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Jeff Hester to write monthly science column in "Astronomy" magazine

Posted 29 days ago by David Eicher
Beginning with the June issue of Astronomy, on newsstands in early May, readers will get their first taste of a real treat. World-renowned astrophysicist Jeff Hester will commence a monthly column that will explore a wide range of topics in astronomy and allied sciences. The first installment of “For Your Consideration” will celebrate what a special time we enjoy in terms of understanding the universe, and the topics to come will surprise you!For those of you who don’t know Jef...
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Big plans with Celestron!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Well, I can tell you that Astronomy’s new advertising manager, Jamie Rinehart, and I have had a marvelous brief trip to Los Angeles. On Tuesday we flew from Milwaukee to Denver, then Denver to Denver, and then Denver to LAX. Yes, you read that right: our Denver to LA flight was diverted after an hour in the air due to what the crew called “inappropriate baggage,” so we turned around and landed in Denver again. After 20 minutes on the ground, we took off from Denver for a second...
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Hanging out at Meade Instruments

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
This week, Astronomy’s new advertising manager, Jamie Rinehart, and I are on a West Coast swing, visiting two of our advertising partners. On Tuesday, we had a wonderful time hanging out with the folks at Meade Instruments, the large telescope manufacturer based in Irvine, California, near Los Angeles. We spent a good part of the afternoon talking things over with Vice President of Sales Victor Aniceto and Meade’s new marketing manager, Thania Guardino, and have some exciting project...
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Superstars of Astronomy interviews begin with Jeff Hester

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Yes, I have been extremely quiet on the blog front lately, with many special projects frantically moving forward. The Astronomy team has several special issues of the magazine coming up; we have a revamped video series you will see soon; we are about to unveil a new series of fancy, illustrated online stories; lots of work is going on with the Asteroid Day movement; and much more. One announcement for today: Superstars of Astronomy, a new audio podcast interview series with the world’s lea...
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Plans set for Tucson Star Party

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
In early February, Senior Editor Michael Bakich and I will be traveling to Arizona for a big trip that will be centered on our annual public star party in Tucson. We’ll also be trekking northward to Flagstaff to visit significant institutions: Lowell Observatory, the U.S. Naval Observatory, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Some fun things will come out of that trip. We will also be covering the meteorite-related activities at the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, which is held each Februa...
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Virtual Telescope Project targets Comet Lovejoy

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Our good friend Gianluca Masi of Rome operates the wonderful Virtual Telescope Project 2.0, through which you can observe various astronomical objects remotely on your computer. Take note that tomorrow, Gianluca will present “A Comet for Christmas: Observation of Comet Lovejoy” online at 19h UT, which is 2 p.m. EST.He will also host a Comet Lovejoy observing session on January 11. I encourage you to check it out.Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Superstars of Astronomy: new audio podcast series

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
“Superstars of Astronomy” is a new series of in-depth audio podcast interviews brought to you by Astronomy magazine and with the generous support of Celestron. With me serving as your host, the monthly series will feature hourlong interviews with some of the world’s foremost astronomers, astrophysicists, planetary scientists, and cosmologists, taking you into the worlds of their research in a new and unique way. By listening to “Superstars of Astronomy,” you’l...
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Korey Haynes joins Astronomy magazine staff

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Please help me welcome our newest associate editor, Korey Haynes. Korey comes to Astronomy magazine fresh from a Ph.D. program at George Mason University in Virginia, where she studied astronomy. She spent most of her time in grad school at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, studying exoplanet atmospheres and looking for water on alien worlds. In addition to research, she was a writer for Astrobites, a blog that posts daily summaries of astronomy journal articles, and she also enjoyed vol...
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Science Book a Day interviews David Eicher

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Last week, I had the opportunity to do an interview with the Australian website Science Book a Day (sciencebookaday.com). We discussed the Starmus Festival, the Starmus book — Starmus: 50 Years of Man in Space — and my other upcoming book projects. You can read the interview on their website. Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...

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