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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Astronomy Magazine announces first-ever Pluto globe

Posted 5 months ago by David Eicher
Waukesha, Wis. - Kalmbach Publishing Co., publisher of Astronomy magazine and Discover magazine, proudly announces the creation of the first-of-its-kind, custom-produced Pluto globe, using data from the historic New Horizons Pluto mission of 2015. “This is a first in history,” says David J. Eicher, Editor of Astronomy. “Little more than a year ago we had virtually no idea what Pluto’s surface looked like, and now we have a detailed globe showing 65 labeled fe...
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Book review: Welcome to the Universe by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott

Posted 5 months ago by David Eicher
This is an important book. Part fascinating story, part reference book, and part astrophysical textbook, the work presents an information-rich summary of the current state of human knowledge of the cosmos. Titled Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour (470 pp., hardcover, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2016, $40; ISBN 978–0–691–15724–5), the work is a collaboration between the star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and two important colleagues, Michael...
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Book review: Einstein's Greatest Mistake by David Bodanis

Posted 5 months ago by David Eicher
Targeting Albert Einstein with a modern book is a brave thing. Like so many other extremely well known personalities, the existing literature is vast, and so many little details of these people’s lives have been scrutinized, interpreted, and reinterpreted many times over. It is a quite rare thing to read a work that attacks a well-known subject in a fresh, original, and highly entertaining way. But that is exactly what David Bodanis has achieved with Albert Einstein in a terrific new bi...
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Book review: Facts from Space! by Dean Regas

Posted 5 months ago by David Eicher
Lemme tell you, cool facts about space are beloved by nearly everyone on the planet. Astronomy magazine published a special issue called the 500 Coolest Things about Space in March 2015, and it was one of our most popular recent editions. Now a good friend, Dean Regas, has produced a beautiful book that all astro fans will cherish. Facts from Space! From Super-Secret Spacecraft to Volcanoes in Outer Space, Extraterrestrial Facts to Blow Your Mind! (237 pp., paper, Adams Media, Avon, Mass., $1...
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Watch Starmus press conference with Garik Israelian, Dave Eicher, and Robert Williams

Posted 5 months ago by David Eicher
On Monday, October 3, 2016, a group of Starmus board members consisting of Garik Israelian, Dave Eicher, and Robert Williams announced the next Starmus Festival. It will take place June 18–23, 2017, in Trondheim, Norway.  You can watch the video of the announcement press conference, which also features officials from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the mayor of Trondheim, and others, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WduigbtYutk We hope to see you there fo...
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Starmus IV coming to Trondheim, Norway

Posted 5 months ago by David Eicher
The following is a press release announcing Starmus IV. Read on for more information: STARMUS IV TO LAND IN NORWAY’S SCIENTIFIC CAPITAL, TRONDHEIM, WITH AN EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVE LINEUP INCLUDING STEPHEN HAWKING, A HOST OF NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS, SCIENTISTS AND LEGENDARY MUSICIANS June 18th to 23rd 2017 “A very exciting opportunity.” Stephen Hawking  “After three successful festivals in The Canary Islands, it is an honour to be invited to the scientific capital of N...
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Asteroid Day: Eric Christensen on why more asteroid resources are needed

Posted 6 months ago by David Eicher
From our friends at Asteroid Day comes a great new video addressing a big topic: Why, exactly, is it that we need more resources — telescopes, equipment, people, etc. — to discover more Near-Earth Asteroids? Eric Christensen, who is director of the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab, lays out the current status of NEO research and why more is needed. You’ll enjoy this short video. See it here: http://asteroidday.org/a...
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Public Service Broadcasting’s Go!

Posted 6 months ago by David Eicher
If you like the intersection of astronomy and music, as many of us do, you might enjoy checking out the London-based band Public Service Broadcasting. This summer at the Starmus Festival my friend Max Alexander showed me a cool video the band produced, tying their music into the space race. The group is a pseudonymous duo comprised of J. Willgoose, Esq., on guitar, banjo, and other instruments, and Wrigglesworth on drums, piano, and electronic instruments. I think you’ll like this. C...
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Guest Blog: Introducing Nicole Kiefert!

Posted 6 months ago by David Eicher
I’m delighted to say that last week at Astronomy magazine, Nicole Kiefert started as our new editorial assistant. Nicole will be very familiar to many of you who contribute to the magazine as you correspond with us in the coming weeks and months. But she will also become known to all readers of the magazine and website as she produces some news, blogs, and other content. We are delighted to welcome Nicole, and want to introduce her to you. So without further ado, here is a guest blog writt...
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Book review: A Global Warming Primer by Jeffrey Bennett

Posted 6 months ago by David Eicher
The world continues to astonish me at nearly every turn. Not only do many science writers and bloggers immediately push the wrong buttons — “Proxima Centauri b is an earthlike planet!” — “The signal received by the Russians signals a probable alien detection!” — but much of the public is far behind the scientific curve. People, global warming as a real phenomenon that is caused and/or made far worse by human industrialization is a done de...
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Dave Eicher to speak at Lowell Observatory

Posted 6 months ago by David Eicher
Please join me at historic Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, for a talk and book signing on Saturday, November 19, 2016. My topic will be “The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions,” based on the book of the same name published this year by Cambridge University Press. I’ll be delighted to revisit Lowell, which has a special place in my heart. I spent 10 days “working” at Lowell in the 1980s, assisting my friend Brian Skiff with res...
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Astronomy magazine has jobs open!

Posted 8 months ago by David Eicher
Our loss could be your gain. We are losing two valuable employees this week. Our Associate Editor Korey Haynes is moving to the Twin Cities where her husband has accepted a job. And our longtime Editorial Associate Val Penton is retiring. So we are looking for an Associate Editor and for an Editorial Assistant to join our team on the world’s most read magazine about astronomy. Please check out the jobs. We hope to hear from you soon! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his ...
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A great new eclipse book

Posted 8 months ago by David Eicher
Astronomy magazine Senior Editor Michael Bakich has just authored a book that you will want to have for next year’s big solar eclipse. Your Guide to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (395 pp., paper, Springer, New York, 2016, $35; ISBN 978–3–319–27630–4) is a treasure trove of materials you will find highly valuable for next year’s big event. The book contains 25 chapters and voluminous appendices that will leave you saturated with everything you need to know to ge...
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Starmus Sonic Universe Concert blows minds

Posted 8 months ago by David Eicher
Maybe you read some of the first few blogs I wrote about the Starmus Festival last week. Truth be told, after the first three days, things became so incredibly busy I didn’t have any time at all to process photos or write posts. So I will begin to conclude the Starmus story here. On Friday, July 1, we all prepared for the Sonic Universe Concert, which was held at the Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín, a beautiful facility practically on the oceanfront in Santa Cruz de Tenerif...
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Third day at Starmus brings historic moments

Posted 8 months ago by David Eicher
OK, this conference, which started out magnificently, becomes dreamily better each day. Some 1,000 people are here on Tenerife for the third Starmus Festival, the unique gathering that celebrates science, music, and art. The speakers this time are truly mind-blowing. We have numerous astronauts, 10 Nobel Prize winners, rock stars, cosmologists, and planetary scientists sharing the latest words on many subfields of our interests. It is truly a meeting like no other.On Wednesday, June 29, the conf...
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A spectacular second day at Starmus

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
Well, we all were blown away by the explosive and amazing events of the first day at the Starmus Festival. More than 1,000 people are gathered here to celebrate astronomy, science, music, and art, on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. The third Starmus, this event started off with a bang, with incredible presentations, thanks to the organization of founder and director Garik Israelian. But the second day carried right on with presentations that were simply mind-blowing. This was Tuesday, June 28, ...
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Starmus starts with a bang in Tenerife!

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
The third Starmus Festival, the unique gathering celebrating astronomy, science, music, and art, got underway in Tenerife, Canary Islands, on Monday, June 27, 2016. Under the direction of Garik Israelian, astronomer and founder of the festival, an all-star cast assembled to discuss the state of the universe along with a crowd of 1,000 attendees. It was an absolutely incredible day, setting a new milestone for the Starmus experience. This year the gathering honors Professor Stephen Hawking, who w...
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Starmus set to commence with unprecedented, all-star lineup

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
On Saturday my wife Lynda and I will fly to Chicago, then to London, and then to Tenerife, in preparation for the third Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands. This unique science festival celebrates stars and music (thus, Starmus), and is the brainchild of good friend Garik Israelian, an astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy in Tenerife. This year’s Starmus Festival (June 27–July 2, 2016) will pay tribute to the great Stephen Hawking, who is already on the island. The career tri...
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Watch Starmus LIVE via streaming online!

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
Can’t come to Starmus? Watch it LIVE via streaming online!!Join us as history happens in the Canary Islands! You can stream Starmus on your computer or phone from June 27 through July 2, 2016, with an incredible, all-star lineup:• All speaker presentations in real time• Select performances in the Sonic Universe Concert! • The Stephen Hawking Award presentations• The GTC Round Table at the world’s largest telescope• And much more! • All the excitemen...
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Astronomy magazine Associate Editor job opening

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
Our loss could be your gain. Our wonderful Associate Editor Korey Haynes has given her notice at Astronomy magazine, as her better half (husband) has accepted a job in the Twin Cities. So we regretfully will let her go, and will lose Korey as a staff member in mid July. (She will continue as an active contributor to the magazine, though — so you will continue to see her byline.)This means the magazine is seeking an associate editor right away. Please see the press release below, and g...
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Hundreds of events worldwide scheduled for Asteroid Day 2016

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA (June 20, 2016) – What began as a passion of a handful of individuals, a musician, filmmaker, technologist, scientist and astronaut, has become a global movement by thousands to increase awareness and education about asteroids. Supported by 22 global partners, scores of international agencies, 72 space travelers from 12 nations, leaders in business and finance, parents and youth, Asteroid Day 2016 will include hundreds of events on and around June 30, 2016. Profe...
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Cool new book: Andrew Fazekas’ Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
My friend Andrew Fazekas has just published a really wonderful new book that I know you will enjoy. Andrew’s Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe, just out, blends two things most all of us love — the cosmos and Star Trek! How can you lose? The book was published by National Geographic Books (237 pp., hardcover, Washington, 2016, $25, ISBN 978–1–4262–1652–7). The book is a cool book — and I will describe it in a moment. But here’...
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Guest blog: Ben Palmer on outreach astronomy

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
You may recall a young friend of Astronomy magazine, Ben Palmer of Queensbury, New York, who won Astronomy’s 2011 Youth Essay Contest. Ben has subsequently become an active part of the Astronomy Foundation. He is a great young man and full of energy and enthusiasm for sharing the excitement of astronomy. I’d like to share his blog here . . . From Sky to Screen: Outreach Astronomy in the Digital AgeBy Benjamin Palmer Virtual. Simulated. Instantaneous. The consummate keywords of the 21...
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Stephen Hawking medal recognizes Jim Al-Khalili, Hans Zimmer and the documentary film Particle Fever to be a model for disclosure of science in their respective areas

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
•    2016 is the first edition of these awards which recognizes the contribution to science communication across different media, whether in writing, broadcasting, music, film, or fine art•    In the Science category, the medal has been awarded to Jim Al-Khalili, physicist, writer and broadcaster, for his treatment of complex physics concepts through science documentaries•    The medal of Arts has been awarded to Hans Zimmer, film and t...
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Stephen Hawking medal for science communication

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
STEPHEN HAWKING STATEMENTIn collaboration with the Starmus festival here in Tenerife, I am pleased to announce the first recipients of the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. In this special inaugural year of the awards, I have been invited to personally select the awardees. The winners have made outstanding contributions in the articulation and portrayal of science to the public, within the three categories of science, art, and film. The winners are.Professor Jim Al-Khalili, in the...
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Dr. John H. Eicher, 1921–2016

Posted 9 months ago by David Eicher
The world has lost a great and a good man with the passing on Tuesday, June 7, of Dr. John H. Eicher, organic chemist, Manhattan Project scientist, mineralogist, historian, philosopher of science, and promoter of sharing the joy of knowledge with his fellow human beings. Eicher was the father of Astronomy Editor David Eicher and served as the original publisher of Deep Sky Monthly magazine, started by his son as a high school project. That magazine grew into Deep Sky magazine, and John Eicher wa...
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Starmus seats available — last chance for superstar extravaganza!

Posted 10 months ago by David Eicher
The greatest science festival of them all is rapidly approaching: Starmus 3, to be held June 27–July 2, 2016. Never before has an all-star lineup like this existed!! You will see and meet: Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, Richard Dawkins, Jill Tarter, Brian May, Rick Wakeman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sarah Brightman, Alexei Leonov, Hans Zimmer, Adam Riess, May-Britt Moser, Kip Thorne, Carol Greider, Chris Hadfield, Brian Greene, Brian Cox, Brian Eno, Martin Rees, Rusty Schweickart, and many oth...
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Starmus seats still available — last chance for superstar extravaganza!

Posted 10 months ago by David Eicher
The greatest science festival of them all is rapidly approaching: Starmus 3, to be held June 27–July 2, 2016. Never before has an all-star lineup like this existed!! You will see and meet: Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, Richard Dawkins, Jill Tarter, Brian May, Rick Wakeman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sarah Brightman, Alexei Leonov, Hans Zimmer, Adam Riess, May-Britt Moser, Kip Thorne, Carol Greider, Chris Hadfield, Brian Greene, Brian Cox, Brian Eno, Martin Rees, Rusty Schweickart, and many oth...
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Watch Dave Eicher’s Harvard talk online

Posted 10 months ago by David Eicher
Many thanks to all of you who came to my talk last week at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. It was a wonderful experience, with great crowd participation and terrific questions. Thanks also to the Harvard Coop Bookstore for bringing along copies of The New Cosmos — I think I signed nearly 50 of them. Altogether, we had 250 people in Phillips Auditorium and in the two overflow rooms, and I have rarely seen such enthusiasm. What a great night. I spoke on my new book and the m...
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Starmus 3 full schedule announced!

Posted 10 months ago by David Eicher
The third Starmus Festival is fast approaching, just six weeks away now. It will take place again in the Canary Islands, on Tenerife and La Palma, and will bring together a spectacular assortment of scientists, musicians, and artists to celebrate the cosmos. The tribute this year will honor the magnificent career of Stephen Hawking. I will be there and will look forward to seeing many of you. Please see the following for the program announcement . . . STARMUS III PRESENTS:  BEYOND THE HORIZ...