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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Total Eclipse Day Success in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Posted 2 days ago by David Eicher
We had total success!! The 350 people at the Teton Science School outside of Jackson, Wyoming, had a perfect day, and are in total jubilation. Last night eclipse weather expert Jay Anderson and I gave three sets of talks about the eclipse, covering everything from how to view it to photography to safety procedures, and so on. And Jay spoke at length about weather prospects. We had some worries about haze and cirrus type clouds that might move over our eclipse site on the big day. But we determ...
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Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 Day 5

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
On Astronomy Magazine’s 2017 National Parks of the West Tour, Northbound, 89 of us are working our way toward Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the total eclipse. We’ve toured several national parks and enjoyed the spectacle of Lowell Observatory’s treasures. On Friday, August 18, we enjoyed some of the historic and cultural treasures of Salt Lake City, Utah.  First came a trip to the Great Salt Lake, an amazing natural wonder, where we saw the salty water (now very low in dro...
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Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 Day 4

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
Astronomy Magazine is operating multiple tours to see the total solar eclipse coming this Monday. I’m on the Northbound National Parks of the West tour, along with 88 others on three buses, making our way slowly northward to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where we’ll see totality.  If it’s Thursday, this must be Bryce Canyon. We are in a whirlwind tour of parks, and have enjoyed them immensely — after seeing the spectacular sights of “America’s Observatory,&rd...
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Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 Day 3

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
The third day of our Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 commenced with waking up on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Within the National Park, we had breakfast and watched the Sun rise over the canyon, before walking out along the rim and photographing the splendor we could see everywhere. Our group, one of several touring with the magazine and TravelQuest tours, consisted of 89 people on three buses, moving steadily northward toward eclipse day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  The Grand C...
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Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 Day 2

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
Our second day of the Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 commenced on Lake Powell, in northern Arizona, near the Arizona/Utah border. Our trip, northward bound, consists of 89 people on three buses, headed for eclipse day at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Monday the 21st. We are partners with Aram Kaprielian and his TravelQuest International crew, a great team of travel experts. We will meet a southbound group at Jackson Hole and have around 200 people at our eclipse site. The magazine is also pa...
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Astronomy Magazine Eclipse Tour 2017 Day 1

Posted 5 days ago by David Eicher
Following an array of flights to Phoenix from all manner of airports, the Astronomy Magazine 2017 Eclipse Tour kicked off, northward bound, headed for numerous national parks and historic astronomical sites en route to viewing the Great American Eclipse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Monday the 21st. On our first big day of activities, Monday, August 14, we headed north from Scottsdale to Sedona, Arizona, where we saw the beautiful red sandstone rocks that make this town a tourist mecca. We did ...
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America's Darkest Sky Star Party planned for October 13-14, 2017

Posted 14 days ago by David Eicher
Dark Sky New Mexico has planned its second star party for observers and astroimagers for October 13–14, 2017, in Animas, New Mexico. As astronomy enthusiasts know, enjoying a world-class dark sky is increasingly hard for the majority of people in the world. In the United States, about 80 percent of the population lives in places where it cannot see the Milky Way. That‘s a sad state of affairs, and so truly dark sky star parties like this one are becoming far more important to those...
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Astronomy Magazine 2017 Eclipse Plans

Posted 19 days ago by David Eicher
The big event is nearly here. After years of chatting about the Great American Eclipse, nearly everyone we know is ready to head off on one direction or another to bask under the darkness of totality. If you’ve never seen a total eclipse, the effect is really almost magical. There’s no better way to feel the power of nature, to see the orbits of the moons and planets and stars come together, than to witness this great spectacle.  Astronomy Magazine has quite a few eclipse act...
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Guest blog: Are we doing more to protect potential aliens on other planets than animals here on Earth?

Posted 28 days ago by David Eicher
This guest blog comes from Paul Shapiro, the vice president of policy engagement at The Humane Society of the United States. You can follow him at https://twitter.com/PaulHShapiro. By Paul Shapiro  Before departing on their 1975 voyage to become the first spacecraft to land on Mars, the Viking 1 and 2 landers had one final task: they had to get baked. No, I’m not referring to a final going-away party for the billion-dollar machines. Rather, they were put in an oven for ne...
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Lowell Observatory's Amazing Anderson Mesa

Posted 29 days ago by David Eicher
In June I had the great fortune to attend my first meeting of the Board of Advisors at Lowell Observatory. This great institution is unique in the astronomy world, as I’ve written before, and should be treasured by all who adore the stars.  I’ve been here, there, and everywhere since, and finally have my feet back on the ground in Wisconsin for more than a few days. This situation allows me to finally share some photos by a fellow board member, Art Storbo, who sent me these n...
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Starmus Day 6 highlights

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The final day of Starmus IV, Friday, June 23, 2017, began in Trondheim with scattered morning activities in the main hall and around the city.  Late in the morning the first big talk took place when Yale University cosmologist Priyamvada Natarajan delivered an eloquent lecture on dark matter and its relationship with the cosmological history of the universe. It was well attended and a treat to hear this great mind share her thoughts on cosmology.  The next talk was truly incredib...
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Starmus Day 5 highlights

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Day 5 of the great Starmus Festival, Thursday, June 22, 2017, began in Trondheim like the other days, with some scattered morning programs throughout the city. The first major address on this day came from an old friend, Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal of England. Martin is such a wonderful speaker and gave us a start-to-finish lecture on the cosmological history of the universe. It was simply magnificent, and constituted a State of the Union message on our understanding of Big Bang cos...
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Starmus Day 4 highlights

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Starmus IV in Trondheim commenced its fourth day, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, with the usual morning activities. The first major event was a talk by Lisa Randall on a possible connection between dark matter and the extinction of the dinosaurs. Following this, the afternoon sped ahead with a major address that was inspiring and resulted in a standing ovation from the Festival crowd. Jeffrey Sachs, economist at Columbia University, described how dark money has corrupted American politics, influenc...
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Starmus Day 3 highlights

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
The third day of Starmus IV, Tuesday June 20, 2017, began as they all did, with some scattered morning programs. Some of these included on various days informal talks and lectures, and panel discussions. I participated in one at the Kaspersky Lab centering on what Earth will be like in 2050. I’ve never considered myself a strong futurist, but it was really fun talking about — and hearing from the crowd over — what life in the future may be like. And almost every day, in the s...
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Starmus Day 2 highlights

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Monday, June 19, 2017, commenced day two of the Starmus Festival with a bang. TV star and physics professor Brian Cox, along with his partner in crime Robin Ince, kicked off the festivities with a live taping on the main stage of the “Infinite Monkey Cage” BBC4 radio podcast show, which was delightful. Brian and Robin hosted four astronauts: Charlie Duke, Sandy Magnus, Claude Nicollier, and Terry Virts, and talked about a huge range of space exploration topics that left the audienc...
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Starmus Day 1 highlights

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Starmus IV, our fourth incarnation of the Starmus Festival, is history. The event took place June 18–23, 2017, in Trondheim, Norway. We had record crowds with 2,500 in attendance and thousands more seeing Starmus related exhibits and events throughout the city of Trondheim. I know that an average of 18,000 people watched the livestream. I think it’s fair to say it was the most amazing science festival put on thus far, and I’ll be summarizing events that occurred during the we...
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Eicher GALAXIES book to be published by Clarkson Potter

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
STAR GAZER LANDS AT CLARKSON POTTER BOOK DEALS / PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, JUNE 26, 2017 The editor-in-chief of Astronomy magazine, David Eicher, sold world rights to a nonfiction book called Galaxies. Jenni Zellner at Clarkson Potter won the book at auction from Laura Biagi at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Biagi said the book was pitched as “Atlas Obscura for galaxies” and reveals their “inner workings and the most fascinating facts and newest discoveries about them.”...
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The recipients of the Stephen Hawking Medal

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
The Stephen Hawking Medal is awarded to Neil degrasse Tyson, Jean-Michel Jarre, and the producers of the CBS Hit Show “The Big Bang Theory”  For the first time, the medal is awarded to a US scientist, heralding a new wave of science enthusiasm in the US   Today, Starmus founder Professor Garik Israelian announced the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication to three deserving winners: Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jean-Michel Jarre and the CBS/Warner Bros. Televisi...
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David Eicher Starmus 2017 Schedule

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Starmus IV is about to begin! With each iteration, the Festival becomes larger. This year’s event will no doubt be the largest and most spectacular yet.  I will be involved in so many things this year that I have a schedule to keep them straight: On Sunday, June 18, I will be hosting the first day of the Festival. I will introduce a stellar array of speakers, including Harrison Schmitt, Stefan Hell, Michel Mayor, Sandra Magnus, Sara Seager, Lynn Rothschild, David Zambuka, and Stev...
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David Eicher joins Lowell Observatory Board

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, is one of the oldest and most distinguished observatories in the United States, and is world famous for its unique blend of history and modern research.  Following his attendance at the Lowell Observatory annual meeting this past week, it can now be announced that David Eicher, Editor of Astronomy, has joined Lowell Observatory’s Board of Advisors.  The Board is chaired by Trustee Lowell Putnam, Percival Lowell’s great-grandneph...
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Omega and the Starmus Festival announce a new partnership

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Revealing a new Speedmaster watch for the winners of the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication 19th May 2017: At a special press conference at the Royal Society in London on Friday, the Starmus Festival announced its new partnership with the prestigious Swiss watchmaker OMEGA. The Starmus Festival is a combination of science, art and music, and its goal is to help the general public understand and appreciate science. Since 2011, it has included performances and presentations from a...
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Astronomy Festival on the National Mall June 2

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
Starry-Eyed on the National Mall, June 2 In Washington, DC, on Friday, June 2, 2017 , from 6-11 p.m. visitors to the nation’s capital will be able to look to the skies with professional telescopes as part of the free Eighth Annual  Astronomy Festival on the National Mall  (AFNM) , N. of the Washington Monument; 15th Street NW and Constitution Ave,  across from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.   Rain ...
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Starmus: The Most Affordable Major Science Festival in the World

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
I recently heard someone say they thought the Starmus Festival, one of the world’s greatest science gatherings, was an expensive and elite event. “Huh?,” I thought. Several major science festivals cost several thousands of dollars or euros to attend. Such is not the case with Starmus: in fact, the whole idea with Starmus is to minimize the costs and allow, as easily as possible, mingling and chatting with some of the great minds of our time. The Starmus Festival will take pl...
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Thanks to Jean Creighton and UWM

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
A special thanks to Jean Creighton, my son Chris Eicher, and everyone else who was involved with last week’s talk in Milwaukee.  Senior Editor Michael Bakich joined me for a special presentation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium, thanks to its director, Jean.  Michael spoke at length about the upcoming August 21 total solar eclipse. I gave a shorter presentation about recent tremendous discoveries in astrophysics. We had a really nice crowd, a...
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National Geographic's Mars, and HiRISE's Mars

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
The past couple of months have brought a fantastic arrival of cool books and an amazing Blu-ray that will keep Mars fans going for months.  Many of you may have seen and marveled at Mars on the National Geographic Channel. This 6-part miniseries premiered late in 2016 and over 283 minutes delivered a story of how humans may travel to and live on Mars in the future. The series drew on several fictional time periods, beginning in 2033, when humans travel to Mars to stay. Produced by Ron Ho...
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Starmus IV: The music announcement

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE STARMUS IV: THE MUSIC ANNOUNCEMENT GRAMMY AWARD WINNING GUITARIST STEVE VAI WILL TAKE THE STAGE AS STARMUS’ HEADLINE ROCK ACT, PERFORMING WITH SPECIAL GUESTS At the previous three festivals Brian May rocked the Starmus stage and although he is unable to be at the festival this year because he is touring with Queen, he remains committed to Starmus as a member of the advisory board. For this fourth festival Brian has invited Steve Vai to head up the music component and he wi...
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Starmus IV Full Programme Announcement

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE STARMUS IV FULL PROGRAMME ANNOUNCMENT THE IMPRESSIVE LINEUP INCLUDES STEPHEN HAWKING AS KEYNOTE SPEAKER, 10 NOBEL LAUREATES, BUZZ ALDRIN, LARRY KING, OLIVER STONE AND BRIAN COX June 18th - 23rd 2017 The Starmus board consists of Stephen Hawking, Brian May, Peter Gabriel, Richard Dawkins, Alexei Leonov, Jill Tarter, Robert Williams, David Eicher, Jack Szostak and the festival’s founder, Garik Israelian – these great minds have devised an incredible programme, recruit...
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Astronomy Festival on the National Mall brings the universe down to Earth

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
Friday, June 2, 2017; 6 – 11 pm; N of the Washington Monument; 15th Street NW and Constitution Ave.   across from the National Museum of African American History and Culture  See the Sun, Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter at the Largest Astronomy Event on the National Mall In Washington, DC, on Friday June 2th from 6 to 11 pm, visitors will be a given a free guided tour of the sky at the 8th Annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall. Rain location: School Without Walls H...
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Astronomy Editors to speak in Milwaukee May 10

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
If you’re in the Milwaukee area, please join Michael Bakich and I this Wednesday, May 10, as we deliver a couple of astronomy-related talks at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  Starting at 7 p.m. at the UWM Planetarium, I’ll talk about new developments in the field of astronomy in “The New Cosmos: Astronomy’s Big Discoveries.” Michael will then follow, delivering a full presentation on the upcoming August total solar eclipse, in “The Dark Sid...
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Great success with New Mexico Star Party

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
On Saturday, April 29, 2017, Dark Sky New Mexico held its first star party, America’s Darkest Sky Star Party, near Animas, New Mexico. Several dozen people attended and had spectacular views of the night sky. We had a young Moon for a time before it slipped away, accompanied by the stars of Orion, and we viewed many springtime constellations and objects hanging overhead. The facility we used is in the hands of new owners, Larry Rosenberg, Steven Blum, and Michael Hensley, and about a doz...

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