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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On Asteroid Day, the realities of asteroid impact dangers

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
Over the past weeks, as Asteroid Day has approached, I’ve seen lots of talk one way or the other about the realities of danger from near-Earth asteroids.The real reality? On any given day, the danger is extremely low. Eventually, however, small and large asteroids will again strike Earth.Last spring, I wrote a meticulous 4,000-word story about the dangers from asteroids, after consulting with numerous experts in the field.You can read it here.And then join the discussion. But join it in an...
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Join us for today's Asteroid Day activities

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
The day is finally here! Today, on the 107th anniversary of the Tunguska event, an explosion caused by an incoming asteroid or comet that flattened more than 2,000 square kilometers of forest in central Siberia, people around the world are participating in Asteroid Day. Asteroid Day global movement is a  global day of awareness and public education about asteroids. At science centers and schools, homes, and community centers around the world, including in England, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Cana...
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The Chicago astronomer and Astronomy magazine!

Posted 11 days ago by David Eicher
Joe Guzman, who is out there doing astronomy outreach all over the city of Chicago, well known as the Chicago Astronomer, sent me this last week:“The Chicago Astronomer Astro Club uses Astronomy magazine as part of our class lessons. We will continue to meet over the summer break while school is out.Solid.”Fantastic, Joe!! Keep those kids’ eyes on the sky! Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Registration opens for Starmus, sign up today!

Posted 11 days ago by David Eicher
You can now register for next year’s Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands, the premier science festival in the world. Next year’s event will honor Stephen Hawking and will be titled “Beyond the Horizon: Tribute to Stephen Hawking.” It will take place in Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands, June 27–July 2, 2016. The speakers will include:• Stephen Hawking• 10 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, including Harry Kroto, Robert Wilson, Adam Riess, and Bria...
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Join me in signing the Asteroid Day declaration!

Posted 11 days ago by David Eicher
The first Asteroid Day is now six days away! Please join me in signing the 100x declaration. Help to expand our inventory of asteroids in the inner solar system by a factor of 100. Help to take care of Earth’s future! You can sign the declaration here. cs_setInnerHtml('video_cbfeb930-e328-4151-bfaa-235697eb80c0',''); Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Oh Pluto! You must see this video!

Posted 12 days ago by David Eicher
Kudos to Craig Werth and Christine Lavin for producing this song and great video! Now Pluto has its own song! cs_setInnerHtml('video_4f9316b4-c73e-49e1-9f84-bd2b68dedf1b',''); Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar....
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Chris Eicher on Brett Favre, alchemy, and the magic of copper

Posted 17 days ago by David Eicher
My son, Chris Eicher, is a journalism student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is starting a series of pro-science, anti-pseudoscience blogs, and I hope that you will read them and support him in his interest. We know that the world is awash in misinformation, nonsense, and bad science. It‘s all around you every day, on television and on the Internet, and it needs accountability. His blogs will address a variety of subjects, sticking up for reality and attacking the unrealities...
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10 Nobel Prize winners to participate in Starmus 3

Posted 17 days ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE•    "Beyond the horizon – Tribute to Stephen Hawking" will be the theme of the third Starmus Festival, which will pay homage to the most famous British astrophysicist of all time and confirm the status of Starmus as the world's most ambitious science festival by bringing outstanding personalities in the field of science education and space exploration together in Tenerife once again•    In the words of Professor Hawking: "With this next...
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Latest "Real Reality Show"

Posted 23 days ago by David Eicher
The latest Real Reality Show episode is up and deals with the realities of dark matter. Check it out here.Enjoy! Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar....
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Rusty Schweickart's audio interview now online

Posted 23 days ago by David Eicher
I know all of you are familiar with the great Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 astronaut, planetary defense champion, and one of the great promoters of science education over the past generation. My audio interview with Rusty for the “Superstars of Astronomy” podcast series is now online. You can listen to it here. And you can read a transcription of the interview here.Enjoy! Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Great photos from the World Science Festival

Posted 26 days ago by David Eicher
For those of you who did not attend the World Science Festival in New York two weeks ago, you really missed something.I've previously reported on the star party, all the talks and activities, and the great opening dramatic play.Now, courtesy of photographer Greg Kessler of the festival, and thanks to Blake Zidell for sending them along, we have in the Online Reader Gallery a group of great photos.Enjoy! And see you there next year!Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar....
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Joe Lupica and Dean Regas join Astronomy Foundation board

Posted 26 days ago by David Eicher
The Astronomy Foundation, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit outreach group started by telescope industry members, has had a busy year. It has gained nonprofit status and now seeks fundraising. It held an annual meeting at the Northeast Astronomy Forum in New York in April. It has a set of objectives that will commence soon to support astronomy outreach with a variety of star-party-related services.And now the group has added two important members to its board of directors. Joe Lupica is the former CEO of ...
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Time for Pluto Time

Posted 27 days ago by David Eicher
A new tool from NASA allows you to experience Pluto time anytime. This is really cool. Thanks to Alan Stern for letting me know about this. Check it out here.Just how dim is the sunlight on Pluto, some three billion miles away? While sunlight is much weaker than it is here on Earth, it isn’t as dark as you might expect. In fact, for just a moment during dawn and dusk each day, the illumination on Earth matches that of high noon on Pluto.We call this “Pluto Time.” If you go outs...
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Join our friends at Astronomy Festival on the National Mall

Posted 27 days ago by David Eicher
Each year, astronomy professor Don Lubowich of Hofstra University has led an effort to host a great star party in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall. This year's event will take place on Friday evening, June 19th, with a rain night the following evening.This is one of the great public star party events in the United States and will draw thousands of people. Materials from Astronomy magazine will be on hand as giveaways, as people young and old view the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn — an...
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Shout out to Celestron for the World Science Festival

Posted 27 days ago by David Eicher
You may have seen the coverage of the many activities that took place at the World Science Festival (WSF) in New York two weeks ago.Here’s a wonderful slice of local news coverage from CBS New York highlighting Celestron’s role in the Sunday street fair at the WSF.You can enjoy it here.Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Publication date set for Eicher astrophysics book

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
My next book, The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Biggest Questions, will be published by Cambridge University Press on November 25, 2015. Last year, I spent much of my free time cloistered in my room cranking away on a new book about astrophysics, planetary science, and cosmology. You see, more than 30 years ago I was incredibly inspired by Cosmos, the TV series and book, and got to know Carl Sagan, who encouraged me onward. The inspiration led me to write my 21st book, which will be pu...
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Astronomy Foundation launches Picture of the Week

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The Astronomy Foundation, the telescope industry outreach group, has launched a new Picture of the Week feature on its website. You can see it here.The inaugural photo is by our good friend and Australian astroimager Jeanette Lamb, and shows the Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius and the surrounding region, rich in stars, gas, and dust.Jeanette shot this with a Takahashi FS78 scope, a Canon CDS 1100D camera, and a composite of exposures.Find out more about the Astronomy Foundation.Follow David J. Eich...
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A movie about the dark night sky

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
I urge you to take a couple minutes out of your day and watch this short film, "Bring Back the Stars." It was made by Yining Zhou and features footage of Audrey Fisher, president of the Chicago Astronomical Society and a light pollution activist, and others in the Chicago area.It is a short film that all astronomy enthusiasts should see.You can watch it below: cs_setInnerHtml('video_83a0cf26-d5bd-44c5-819f-92fd2d9f751e',''); And keep the faith. Do what you can to bring the night sky back to thos...
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World Science Festival events

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The World Science Festival, held May 27–31 in New York City, was a great event. I previously blogged about one of the largest activities associated with the festival, Astronomy magazine’s star party held in conjunction with Celestron, Discover magazine, Scistarter, and the Science Cheerleaders. Many other events took place during the week. On the first night I arrived, Wednesday the 27th, I was struck with the opening event held in an auditorium at the John Jay College of Criminal Ju...
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New Asteroid Day competition!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The folks at Discovery Science in England have produced a terrific new contest for Asteroid Day, on June 30, now less than a month away!Check it out here. And you can see their promo film about programming below. cs_setInnerHtml('video_a1d81054-a9b4-490d-8ec1-1dedd4226467',''); Enjoy!Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar....
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World Science Festival Stargaze in New York

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
What a terrific few days a number of us had in New York last week celebrating the World Science Festival, one of the great science events, that drew something like a quarter-million science enthusiasts to the Big Apple. Many events took place — I will report on the talks and sessions in the coming days. For now, let me tell you about the great star party Astronomy magazine held in conjunction with our associates at Celestron, Discover magazine, Scistarter, and the Science Cheerleaders. On ...
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Greetings from the World Science Festival Star Party!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Celestron just sponsored a really big event in New York City, with several thousand people enjoying the night sky with Astronomy, Discover, Scistarter, and the Science Cheerleaders. It was a featured part of the World Science Festival that took place last Wednesday through Sunday, and it was a tremendous success. Thanks to all of you who attended and who we met there. It was incredible fun!What a joy to see so many kids (and adults!) going bananas after getting their first looks at the Moon, Sat...
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A word on Starmus from Stephen Hawking

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
From Professor Hawking:I’m touched and honored that the third STARMUS in Tenerife, June 27 to July 2, 2016, is titled “Beyond the Horizon: A Tribute to Stephen Hawking.” — SHFollow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Gearing up for the World Science Festival

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Tomorrow morning I’ll leave for New York (once again!), this time to go to the World Science Festival. Astronomy and Discover magazines will be partnering with Scistarter, the citizen science group headed by Darlene Cavalier (who is also behind the Science Cheerleaders!). Discover Editor-in-Chief Steve George and I will be representing the two magazines. The World Science Festival will draw some 300,000 or more people over the next few days for talks, films, workshops, a star party, a huge...
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A thought from my latest book ...

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
This will be published with about another 100,000 words in The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions, to be published by Cambridge University Press this coming October.Enjoy!Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Sir Harold Kroto and David Eicher join Starmus Festival board

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Tenerife, Canary Islands, May 20, 2015: Garik Israelian, director of the Starmus Festival, the international celebration of astronomy, allied sciences, music, and the arts, today announces two additions to the Starmus Festival board of directors. Both Sir Harold Kroto and David Eicher were speakers at the 2014 Starmus Festival in Tenerife, Canary Islands, and have continued to be active with the organization. Kroto is the Nobel Prize-winning, British-born Frances Eppes professor of chemistry at ...
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Get ready for Asteroid Day festivities in London

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The first ever Asteroid Day will raise awareness for near-Earth asteroid research, highlighting the danger space rocks pose to us. The commemoration will take place June 30, 2015, on the 107th anniversary of the Tunguska event, when an asteroid or cometary nucleus obliterated huge areas of forest in Siberia. Significant events are planned for Asteroid Day in London, England, at the Science Museum south of Hyde Park. Guests will be treated to a science panel discussion and then will watch an excl...
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New Eicher book will deliver state of the cosmos message

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Last year, I spent much of my free time cloistered in my room cranking away on a new book about astrophysics, planetary science, and cosmology. You see, more than 30 years ago I was incredibly inspired by Cosmos, the TV series and book, and got to know Carl Sagan, who encouraged me onward. The inspiration led me to write my 21st book, which will be published by Cambridge University Press this coming October. The Foreword is by a friend of many of ours, Alex Filippenko of the University of Califo...
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Discovery Science joins Asteroid Day project

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Great news!Please see the following release . . .DISCOVERY SCIENCE LAUNCHES “COUNTDOWN TO ASTEROID DAY” Do scientists know when an asteroid will strike? How much warning will you get if an asteroid is headed for your city? How frequently do asteroid impacts occur? To answer these questions and more, Discovery Science, the only global network dedicated entirely to the wonders of science, is partnering with Asteroid Day. Asteroid Day is a global awareness movement educating people on ...
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Astronomy Night on the National Mall 2015

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Don Lubowich of Hofstra University writes about his plans for the 2015 rendition of a popular Washington, D.C. event: Astronomy Night on the National Mall. If you are in the Washington area in mid-June, I urge you to join the large group of institutions that will participate in this massive outreach event. Astronomy magazine will support the efforts with magazines and brochures on hand, and Hofstra will host with multiple participating groups, including the American Geophysical Union, the Intern...

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