Speaking on comets at the 2014 Northeast Astronomy Forum

Posted by David Eicher
on Monday, April 14, 2014

Astronomy Editor-in-Chief Dave Eicher poses with Dolores Hill of the University of Arizona's OSIRIS-REx asteroid return mission, NEAF, Suffern, New York, April 13, 2014.// photo by David J. Eicher
Sunday, April 13, was another mesmerizingly busy day at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), held at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York. Attendance was definitely up from last year, and the general feeling was that a flux of new people who have been watching the Cosmos series on FOX may have been filtering into the event. More than 100 vendors exhibited their telescopes, cameras, binoculars, and accessories, and there were plenty of exciting things going on with products, headlined by a new array of instruments announced by Celestron. My day was centered on a presentation at noon, wherein I delivered a talk, “Comets: Visitors from Deep Space.” I was really impressed with the depth and complexity of some of the questions afterward, and we discussed the role of comets in delivering water to early Earth, in depositing organic molecules on our planet, and in striking us and possibility creating major troubles in the future. It was a great, inquisitive crowd. Afterward, I headed over to the Cambridge University Press booth to do a book signing for my book of the same name, which was published last fall.

After the comets portion of the talk, I was pleased to announce the winners of the National Science Foundation/Astronomy magazine/Discover magazine Comet ISON Photo Contest we held last year. See our gallery for the names of the winners and their beautiful photos, and many thanks to all the imagers who participated in this fun event.

Immediately after this event, my friend Garik Israelian joined me onstage to show us a presentation on the second Starmus Festival, coming this September in Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands. The first festival took place in 2011 and featured a who’s-who of astronauts, cosmologists, astronomers, planetary scientists, artists, and musicians, and I have been working on the Starmus 2011 book with Garik and Brian May, astronomer and Queen’s legendary guitarist. I can promise you that the 2014 event in the Canaries will be spectacular again. I hope to see many of you there, and you can find information at www.starmus.com.

I thank all of our readers who came to Astronomy’s booth to talk to me and Jeff Felbab; we barely had a spare moment, and it was really wonderful to hear from so many of you and to meet you. What a pleasure! The rest of the few hours left in the NEAF day went toward running around and seeing the amazing telescopes on display from so many companies. Many exciting things lie in store in the upcoming pages of Astronomy magazine.

Back to Milwaukee!

For all images from this trip, visit the Online Reader Gallery.

Related blogs:

A jam-packed first day at the 2014 Northeast Asgtronomy Forum

Heavy-duty imaging at the 2014 Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference

Deep thoughts at the 2014 Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference

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