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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RIP Walter H. Haas, lunar and planetary champion

Posted 11 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 12 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 16 days 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 16 days 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 18 days 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 19 days 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 19 days 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_2a164e9f-f1c4-4f44-8512-6168dcc2bca5',''); 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 22 days 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 22 days 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 26 days 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 26 days 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 29 days 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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Astronomy leads education for Asteroid Day

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
I’m delighted to say that Astronomy magazine will be taking on a leading role in promoting the educational component of the Asteroid Day movement. Asteroid Day is an international effort to raise awareness of the potential threat to Earth from asteroids. The organization was founded by London-based filmmaker Grigorij Richters and astrophysicist and Queen founding guitarist Brian May, and it will raise awareness for research with special events June 30, 2015. This will mark the 107th annive...
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Celestron and Astronomy partnering in Chicago

Posted one month 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 ...
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New Superstars of Astronomy features Alan Stern, Pluto

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The third Superstars of Astronomy podcast, an hourlong interview, is now posted on Astronomy’s website. It‘s a detailed discussion with an old friend, Alan Stern, the world’s leading expert on Pluto. Alan is principal investigator of the New Horizons mission that is speeding toward its July encounter with Pluto. This will be an extremely exciting time as we will soon have our first close-up view of Pluto and its five moons. We talk a great deal about the controversy of whe...
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Dave Eicher to speak at New York/New Jersey Mineral Show

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
A week before NEAF and NEAIC light up the New York astronomy world, I will have the privilege of speaking at the New York/New Jersey Mineral Show, to be held in Edison, New Jersey, just outside New York City. I’ll be there from April 10 through the 12th and will be delivering a talk on “Minerals on Earth and Beyond,” with some attention to rocks and minerals on the Moon and on Mars. I look forward to seeing many astronomy enthusiasts who are also rockhounds at this great s...
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Astronomy Foundation to hold their annual meeting at NEAF

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The Astronomy Foundation, the telescope industry’s first and only trade association, will hold its annual meeting during this year’s Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, New York. The foundation meeting is scheduled for Saturday evening, April 18, 2015, and will push a number of initiatives forward. Founded several years ago by then-Celestron CEO Joe Lupica and several others, the foundation aims to promote awareness of and involvement in the astronomy hobby. This year the gr...
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Astronomy magazine to again sponsor NEAF

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Once again this year, Astronomy magazine will serve as a proud sponsor of the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), the largest telescope show in the United States. The event, which features dozens of telescope manufacturers, talks by professional and amateur astronomers, solar observing, lots of activities for kids, “getting started” beginners classes in astronomy, door prizes, and much more will take place April 18 and 19, 2015, in Suffern, New York. NEAF’s host facility is ...
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Join Astronomy for totality in the Faroe Islands!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
How time flies. Next month, it will be my privilege to join a group of Astronomy readers to see a total eclipse from the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic. Our group will be led by Melita, Daniel, and Julie Thorpe of MWT Associates and will trek to Iceland, enjoying the geological wonders there, before seeing the eclipse itself March 20. The trip lasts from March 14 to the 23rd and will no doubt be a delight. Totality will last about 2-1/2 minutes.I’ll be sharing highlights from my adven...
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Is this the way life began?

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Here’s an unusual mineral specimen: Scientists believe it is likely life originated some 4.3+ billion years ago at hydrothermal vents, so-called black smokers. This is pyrite from a black smoker, 5.3 cm, Meso Zone, 69°24' E, 22°39' S, from a depth of 3,300 m (~10,800 ft), Rodriguez Triple Junction, Central Indian Ridge, Indian Ocean. Pyrite is iron sulfide, and it might be that some of the earliest life were primitive sulfur-eating bacteria.Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.tw...
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Astronomy game show on WGN tomorrow!

Posted one month 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 one month 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 one month 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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