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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New era in astronomy begins with gravitational wave detection

Posted 6 hours 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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Dave Eicher’s The New Cosmos wins 2016 PROSE Award

Posted yesterday by David Eicher
Astronomy Editor David Eicher’s book The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions has won honorable mention at the 2016 PROSE Awards, book awards given for excellence in professional and scholarly publishing. The awards are administered by the Association of American Publishers, and are recognized at the group’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Eicher‘s book won honorable mention in the category of popular science writing. The book has just been published by Camb...
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Asteroid Day 2016 announced, set for June 30

Posted yesterday by David Eicher
**PRESS RELEASE**ASTEROID DAY 2016 LAUNCHED AT EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY WITH SUPPORT FROM 20 GLOBAL PARTNERS, SIX INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES, AND A MESSAGE FROM OUTER SPACEAsteroid Day, a global movement supporting increased awareness and education of asteroids, announced its plans for 2016 in a press conference live from ESA ESTEC and live streamed to the world — with messages from every continent on the globe and a special message from outer space.Participants included co-founders Dr. Brian May...
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Uwingu announces 2016 Valentine's Day space gift ideas

Posted 7 days ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE Boulder, Colorado — Make a Special Impact on Someone at Valentine’s DayToday, space public engagement company Uwingu announced three space themed ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day: Name a crater on Mars for family, friends, or loved ones on our Mars map! Each crater named receives a special Valentine’s Day certificate. Name an exoplanet around another star for family, friends, or loved ones. Send a yearlong gift subscription to family, friends, or love...
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Asteroid Day press conference set for Tuesday, February 9

Posted 7 days ago by David Eicher
**PRESS RELEASE**ASTEROID DAY 2016 TO ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERS ANDORGANIZATION FOR WORLDWIDE EVENTS ON JUNE 30; PRESSCONFERENCE ON FEBRUARY 9 CO-HOSTED BY ESA ESTEC IN THE NETHERLANDSBuilding on the highly successful first-ever Asteroid Day in 2015, organizers, together with the European Space Agency, will announce partners and the addition of premier and independently organized events for Asteroid Day 2016, scheduled for June 30 around the world.Date of Press Conference: February 9, 2016Time: 15:0...
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Amy Shira Teitel’s Breaking the Chains of Gravity

Posted 13 days ago by David Eicher
The world has been flooded in recent years with books about spaceflight, particularly centered on the Apollo era. Those who adore the golden age of space exploration are very well provisioned for their intellectual journeys into the past. But such is not the case, until now, for the formative years of space exploration —i.e., pre NASA. Amy Shira Teitel is well known on social media for tireless promotion of the golden age of space exploration. She produced terrific video coverage of some h...
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Challenger after 30 years: a solemn reminder

Posted 14 days ago by Olympia
Thirty years ago today, Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its journey. Today we hold a special remembrance for the astronauts lost on that mission, as well as those of Columbia and Apollo 1. I took this image of the left side panel of Challenger on display at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida just a few weeks ago. Let us remember that space travel is hard, and that we all need to meet the coming frontiers together. That is the only way humanity can push forward, explore the uni...
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A Sickness Over the Land: Special online science feature now available!

Posted 15 days ago by David Eicher
In many places in the world, science is under attack. The quality of information shared between people is seemingly getting worse, plagued by inaccuracies, exaggerations, overreactions, and outright lies. In many places, pseudoscience is winning the day over science. “The Big Bang never happened.”“GMOs are bad for you and there’s a conspiracy to push them at consumers.” “Global warming doesn’t exist.”“Vaccines are killing children.” In ...
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New Asteroid Day website and Asteroids IV book review

Posted 16 days ago by Korey Haynes
Our friends at the Asteroid Day project have a brand new website loaded with resources for those interested in space rocks. And it will be the premier site for anything you’d like to know about pushing forward research on Near-Earth Objects, which we need to do. Of course planetary scientists know about the biggest NEOs, and they have now catalogued more than 9,000 such objects smaller than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) in diameter. But the work needs to continue to keep Earth’s future saf...
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A wonderful short astronomy video!

Posted 21 days ago by David Eicher
Check out this beautiful video, “The Art and Science of Stars,” which was produced by the staff of USC-Dornsife in Los Angeles. It is a marvelous reflection on the night sky, the meaning of stars, and humanity! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter and check out his author page on Facebook. ...
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Hey Dave, what happened to your book?

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
I’ve received a growing number of emails and messages over the past several days, so I think I ought to address this. My book The New Cosmos was published by Cambridge University Press a couple weeks ago, and it is suddenly very hard to find. We’ve had some wonderful press and reaction, and the book is ranked #1 in Astronomy and Astrophysics on Amazon.com. But it has been temporarily unavailable from many sources since the first day it went on sale.That is a nice problem to have, you...
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Asteroid Day: Mark Boslough on Younger Dryas, Carolina Bay depressions

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Our friends at Asteroid Day have commenced an online series of questions and answers, and the first two have been answered by Mark Boslough. Mark is the chair of the Asteroid Day Expert Panel and is a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. He is an expert on impacts on Earth, among other things. I think you’ll find the discussion here captivating. The Younger Dryas is a period of cooling on Earth that commenced about 12,900 years ago, at the end of the last ice age. Secon...
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Book STARMUS now at lowest rate: 4 days left!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The third Starmus Festival is set to take place on Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, June 26–July 2, 2016. It is the most incredible science festival in the world and will host a unique blend of science, art, and music that will blow your minds! The Starmus organizers have alerted us to a price hike: the early bird registration fee, €500, will be raised to €700 on January 15, 2016. So book now! You have four days until the price goes up! Starmus 3 will be a once-in-a-...
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RIP David Bowie, 1947–2016

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
A terribly sad day on Earth, with one less very special person. A tragic loss for music, for the arts, for film, and for the curious with the departure of this amazingly talented man. From our friends at Asteroid Day:Rest in Peace, David Bowie. Did you know that he has an asteroid named after him? 342843 Davidbowie. Thanks to the European Space Agency for this additional information: On January 5, 2015, an asteroid was named after David Bowie: (342843) 2008 YN3 = Davidbowie. http://www.mino...
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Stars shine for everyone

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Please see this website in the United Kingdom (UK) to help spread astronomy with those who are less fortunate.Telescopes for charity

Children with special educational needs and more vulnerable people should also be given the chance to look through a telescope and explore the Moon, the planets, and the stars. The idea comes from Jean Pierre Grootaerd and Harrie Rutten who started this initiative in Belgium and the Netherlands with the support of Volkssterrenwacht Armand Pien, Universiteit Gent, ...
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U.S. Postal Service celebrates Pluto in stamps

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
My friend Raj Pillai, a chemical engineer and Pluto enthusiast, shared his enthusiasm last week about the U.S. Postal Service announcement of a Pluto stamp set. Pluto — Explored! will consist of a four-stamp pane of Forever postage stamps depicting Pluto along with the New Horizons spacecraft. The stamps will be inaugurated during the World Stamp Show 2016 in New York in late May. “U.S. postal stamps express the enthusiasm and personality of senders to favorite themes in our soc...
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Dave Eicher to speak on "The New Cosmos" at Harvard University

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
On Thursday, May 19, 2016, Astronomy Editor Dave Eicher will speak on “The New Cosmos” at the Phillips Auditorium at Harvard University. Eicher last spoke at Harvard in 2013; he will now address topics from his new book The New Cosmos, which range from the fate of the Sun and life on Earth to water on Mars, the Big Bang, dark energy, and the meaning of life in the universe. The lecture will be open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. Entrance will be from the west of the H...
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Photos and Brian May's speech from the Hawking medal announcement

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
You can click here to see more photos from the launch of the Stephen Hawking Medal in London last Wednesday, where Brian May, Garik Israelian, Alexei Leonov, Stephen Hawking, Harry Kroto, Richard Dawkins, Kip Thorne, and Hans Zimmer participated in the announcement ceremony. You can also read Brian May’s comments at the ceremony. The astrophysicist and Queen founding member and guitarist is on the board of directors of the Starmus Festival, along with Israelian, Leonov, Hawking, Kroto, and...
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Starmus announces ground-breaking Stephen Hawking medals for science communication

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
•    Milestone award for those promoting science throughout the arts•    Launched under the name of the greatest scientist of the last century, in the context of STARMUS, the most ambitious science festival of all time •    Hawking: “I am delighted to present the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication to be awarded next year at the STARMUS festival in Tenerife. This medal will recognize excellence in science communication...
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Uwingu announces daily space image subscription service

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Our friends at Uwingu have announced a service delivering curated, high-quality images that will be sent to subscribers on a daily basis. A press release follows . . . Boulder, Colorado— Just in time for the holidays, space company Uwingu is announcing the launch of a new product — Daily Space Explorer — that anyone can subscribe to, or give as a gift, by going to www.uwingu.com.Each subscription sends the subscriber 365 daily electronic high-definition space and astronomy imag...
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More treasures of the Kennedy Space Center

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Last week, I spent two days at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Merrit Island, Florida, for a behind-the-scenes tour. Although warm temperatures are embracing much of the United States right now, the weather was beautiful on Cocoa Beach, where I was staying, and made touring outdoor aspects of KSC a pleasure.Kennedy Space Center is a national treasure, and my tour of the facilities included hundreds of notable features. I photographed them all diligently and will produce a detailed story f...
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Asteroid Day announces logo contest!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Grig Richters, Founder of the Asteroid Day project, has announced a logo contest in which you can propose the official logo for Asteroid Day. The judges will be Brian May, astrophysicist and founding member of Queen, and astronauts Chris Hadfield and Tom Jones. Asteroid Day is an international movement that has delivered great interest and knowledge in Near-Earth Asteroids and the dangers they pose to colliding with our planet. We need to discover many more than the ~12,000 now known. And you ca...
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Treasures of the Kennedy Space Center

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Last week, I spent two days at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Merrit Island, Florida, for a behind-the-scenes tour. Although warm temperatures are embracing much of the United States right now, the weather was beautiful on Cocoa Beach, where I was staying, and made touring outdoor aspects of KSC a pleasure. Kennedy Space Center is a national treasure, and my tour of the facilities included hundreds of notable features. I photographed them all diligently and will produce a detailed story for a...
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Heading to the Kennedy Space Center

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Tomorrow morning, I’ll fly to Orlando and then head east to the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. For two days, I’ll be working on seeing some folks and touring the facilities to assemble a “behind the scenes” story for Astronomy magazine. Stay tuned for some blogs and other updates. And keep looking up. Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter: @deicherstarAnd please check out David J. Eicher’s Author Page on Facebook....
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"Rainbow of Light" performed by Katerina Mina celebrates astronomy and life!

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
I want to tell you about a terrific new song from a couple of friends I made at last year’s Starmus Festival. “Rainbow of Light (Anthem)” by Linda Lamon, and performed by the great soprano Katerina Mina, is a celebration of the universe. It is now available on iTunes. All of us who attended Starmus last year were treated when Katerina performed, and you will adore this song once you hear it. You can watch the video on Youtube.A press release follows.Enjoy!Follow Dave Eiche...
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David Eicher's THE NEW COSMOS published

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Astronomy magazine’s editor-in-chief’s new book offers new thoughts on “hot topics” of astrophysics, cosmology, and planetary science.Drawing its inspiration from Carl Sagan and his original book/TV series Cosmos, and Eicher’s friendship with Sagan, the book explains and celebrates tremendous advances of the past decade or so in key areas of great interest to astronomers. The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions, by David J. Eicher (279 pp., hardcov...
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Two wonderful books about light

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Anyone who loves astronomy and the night sky knows that light is the key. As humans, visible light is the way we see the universe — photons slamming into our eyes. Two new terrific books explore the electromagnetic spectrum and how we see and appreciate astronomical images. The first is Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond by Kimberly Arcand and Megan Watzke (208 pp., hardcover, Black Dog & Leventhal, New York, 2015, $29.99; ISBN 978–1–63191–006–7). This ...
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Happy birthday Carl Sagan!

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
As many of you know, today would have been Carl Sagan’s 81st birthday. Carl changed the world of astronomy and also science popularization dramatically throughout his career, largely with the spectacular PBS series Cosmos, which aired in 1980 and opened the eyes of many to the universe. I miss Carl Sagan and owe him much — he encouraged me to get into science popularization. There really has never been anyone quite like him before or since. Here is a piece that I wrote for Astro...
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A great biography of Milton Humason

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
Many of you might know something about the amazing story of astronomer Milton Humason. Born in 1891, he dropped out of school at age 14 and eventually became a mule skinner on Mt. Wilson, near Los Angeles, during the period of World War I. He then took a job as janitor at the newly inaugurated Mt. Wilson Observatory and self-educated to the point where he transformed into an astronomer, helping Edwin Hubble and others with crucially important research on the nature of galaxies and the universe.A...
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Incredibly neat lunar surface models!

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
One of the nice folks I met on my recent New York trip was Howard Fink, an enthusiastic amateur astronomer and observer who has made some really neat Moon models. Howard is an active member of the Amateur Astronomers Association and produces these plastic models of various craters for sale. They are handmade works of art, and really quite incredible. I have not seen anything exactly like them before, and I thought some of you lunar observers would want to know about them! You can go to these sit...

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