New Eicher book will deliver state of the cosmos message

Posted by David Eicher
on Monday, May 11, 2015

Credit: Tony Hallas
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 California, Berkeley. I’ll let you know as soon as I have specifics on the book’s publication.

The book, The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions, takes on the incredible progress astronomers have made over the past 10 to 15 years, synthesizing current knowledge for general readers in a state of the universe report about our solar system, the Milky Way Galaxy, and beyond.

The areas of focus, most of which we only had a hazy understanding of at the time of Cosmos, include:

• How the Sun will die
• The end of life on Earth
• How the Moon formed
• What happened to the water on Mars
• Why Venus turned itself inside-out
• The case for Pluto as a planet
• The explosion of exoplanet discoveries
• The discovery of our galaxy’s barred spiral shape
• The coming collision of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies
• The Big Bang’s cosmic echo
• The size of the universe
• The mystery of dark matter
• The greater mystery of dark energy
• The ubiquitous nature of black holes
• The fate of the universe
• The meaning of life in the cosmos

The book will consist of more than 100,000 words and 100 color photographs and illustrations and will be available in hardcover and (eventually) paper.

I am indebted to the gracious astronomers who read and commented on the book, ensuring accuracy:

Bruce Balick, University of Washington
Robert A. Benjamin, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Alex Filippenko, University of California,Berkeley
Debra Fischer, Yale University
John S. Gallagher III, University of Wisconsin-Madison
James W. Head III, Brown University
Dan Hooper, Fermilab
John Kormendy, University of Texas at Austin
Abraham Loeb, Harvard University
Alfred McEwen, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona
Rocky Kolb, University of Chicago
Michael R. Rampino, New York University
Martin J. Rees, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Adam Riess, Johns Hopkins University
Seth Shostak, SETI Institute
Paul D. Spudis, Lunar and Planetary Institute
Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute

Here is the publisher’s blurb:

Over the past decade, astronomers, planetary scientists, and cosmologists have answered — or are closing in on the answers to — some of the biggest questions about the universe. David J. Eicher presents a spectacular exploration of the cosmos that provides you with a balanced and precise view of the latest discoveries. Detailed and entertaining narratives on compelling topics such as how the Sun will die, the end of life on Earth, why Venus turned itself inside-out, the Big Bang Theory, the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy, and the meaning of life in the universe are supported by numerous color illustrations including photos, maps, and explanatory diagrams. In each chapter the author sets out the scientific history of a specific question or problem, before tracing the modern observations and evidence in order to solve it. Join David J. Eicher on this fascinating journey through the cosmos!
 
The book is:

• Inspired by Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos series and best-selling book (1980), it covers a broad selection of contemporary “big picture” topics in astrophysics, planetary science, and cosmology
• Endorsed by leading scientists such as Alex Filippenko (who wrote the Foreword) and 16 other experts
• Suitable for beginners and all who wonder about the universe; David J. Eicher is the long-time Editor-in-Chief of Astronomy magazine and a guest writer for The Huffington Post
 
Author biography:

David J. Eicher is Editor-in-Chief of Astronomy magazine, and one of the most recognized astronomy enthusiasts in the world. He has spoken widely to amateur astronomy groups and written 11 books on astronomy including Comets: Visitors from the Deep Space and The Universe in Your Backyard. He is president of the Astronomy Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors for the Starmus Festival. An avid observer of astronomical objects for more than thirty-five years, he was honored by the International Astronomical Union with the naming of a minor planet, 3617 Eicher.


Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar.

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