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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John Veevaert's annular eclipse guest blog!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
One of the fun things I spend my time with on this little planet when not doing astronomy is collecting and studying minerals. You know, pieces of the planet. It‘s an interesting chapter of planetary geology to understand and celebrate the ways nature combines atoms into the constituents of planets. Anyway, one of my favorite people in the whole mineral world is good friend John Veevaert of Weaverville, California, who is an amateur astronomer and also an expert mineralogist and well-known...
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Coleman Coates of iOptron at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Check out yet another great video from the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), held in Suffern, New York, in late April. This one features Coleman Coates, marketing and sales manager of iOptron Corporation, talking about the company’s line of optical products and mounts for amateur astronomers. Coleman is joined by our enthusiastic and energetic Youth Essay Award winner, Jenna Elliott, who assisted in shooting some of our videos. You will enjoy seeing the many fine products iOptron has for b...
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Growing up with amateur astronomy

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
When I was a young teenager, I leaned in interest toward medicine — a physician’s career, I thought. Then, at 14, I went to a local star party and saw Saturn through a small scope. That moment changed my life. All other interests ceased; I was obsessed with the sky and what lay in it. I was a teenager in a small town in Ohio, stuck between Cincinnati and Dayton in a little community called Oxford where Miami University, an old state school, was the main event. Besides the univer...
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Annular eclipse report from Imelda Joson and Ed Aguirre

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Here’s an eclipse report from yesterday by Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre, two good friends and expert astroimagers. I’ll continue posting a few of these as they roll in from readers. It was mostly cloudy and disrupted here in Waukesha, Wisconsin, but some observers in the area caught glimpses of the partial eclipse. And I know that many of you farther west saw a fantastic annular event. Keep looking skyward! Here’s the report by Imelda and Edwin:Success in the high desert!Tw...
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Annular eclipse report from Bob Gent

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Here’s an eclipse report from yesterday sent to the magazine by Bob Gent, former president of the Astronomical League. I’ll continue posting a few of these as they roll in from readers. It was mostly cloudy and disrupted here in Waukesha, Wisconsin, but some observers in the area caught glimpses of the partial eclipse. And I know that many of you farther west saw a fantastic annular event. Keep looking skyward! Here’s Bob’s report:Greetings from northern Arizona!Terrie...
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Richard Taylor from AstroTrac at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
If you’re at all into astroimaging, you really need to check out AstroTrac’s TT320X–AG. It’s one of the hottest accessories in astronomy right now. The simple and elegant tracking mount makes taking wide-field images of the sky a breeze. Join me for this video I shot with Richard Taylor, managing director of AstroTrac, at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, New York, in late April. It will tell you everything you’ll need to know!Enjoy. cs_setInnerHtml(...
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Transit of Venus event with Frank Drake in Cincinnati!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
If you’re in the area of Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 5 for the incredible transit of Venus that is coming up, I urge you to check out the following event. Marsie Hall Newbold, director of publicity for the Astronomy Foundation, has coordinated a viewing event and big party at the Drake Planetarium in Cincinnati. Many things will make this event special, but consider this: legendary astronomer Frank Drake, chairman emeritus of the SETI Institute and the man who devised the famous “Dra...
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"Astronomy" magazine's history -- revisiting 1975!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
I’ll be sharing the history of the magazine from time to time, a little at a time, in this blog. It’s a fascinating story that has witnessed astronomy grow in leaps and bounds as our understanding of the cosmos has deepened. And you can capture the whole history of the magazine on DVD for your computer — every page of every issue, 449 issues and more than 46,000 pages altogether.The DVD also includes the entire histories of Deep Sky and Telescope Making magazines, two quarterli...
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Brian Deis of Vixen Optics at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
One of the world’s largest manufacturers of telescopes and accessories, Vixen Optics had a significant presence at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, New York, three weeks ago. Many of their new and long-standing products were on hand, and I had the good fortune to meet up with Brian Deis of Vixen, who was kind enough to help me produce this excellent video showing highlights of Vixen’s product line. You’ll see such things as the incredible Polarie Star Tracker mo...
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Supernova discoverer Caroline Moore seeks funds for school observatory project

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
You may remember hearing in 2008 about the remarkable 14-year-old New York observer Caroline Moore who then became the youngest person ever to discover a supernova. Caroline detected Supernova 2008ha in the galaxy UGC 12682 in Pegasus. A year later, she attended and helped host the famous White House Star Party put on by President and First Lady Obama. Now 17, Caroline is also the founder and president of the Warwick Valley Central School District Astronomy Club, which serves six schools and s...
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Rick Hedrick of PlaneWave Instruments at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
PlaneWave Instruments is well-known among astroimagers for its exceptionally produced, high-end corrected Dall-Kirkham telescopes, massive mounts, cameras, and accessories. Its products set a high bar for professional-level astroimaging for advanced amateurs, enthusiasts, professionals, and institutions. Rick Hedrick is not only the CEO of PlaneWave, but also the secretary of the Astronomy Foundation, so he’s active in outreach events and in industry events with scopes. It was my distinct ...
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Scott Roberts of Explore Scientific at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Many of you know Scott Roberts for all of the incredible things he does for astronomy outreach. Others of you know him for being the main man at Explore Scientific, one of the largest manufacturers of telescopes and eyepieces in the world, and a major force in the world of amateur astronomy. Two weeks ago at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), Scott had an incredible truck parked outside the exhibition hall that constitutes his mobile showroom, filled with all of his amazing products. In this ...
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Canon U.S.A. and its hot new camera at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
As you astroimager types know, Canon has just introduced a hot new camera designed specifically for astrophotography — the 60Da. “The EOS 60Da is a testament to the constant desire to meet the needs of every customer, including those in specialized fields,” says Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “This new camera enables an accurate depiction of a part of our solar system which ...
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Astroimager Christopher Go on capturing planets

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
A couple weeks ago at the Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC) in Suffern, New York, I had the pleasure of hearing Christopher Go speak about planetary imaging. A resident of Cebu City, Philippines, Chris is an old friend and a longtime subscriber and contributor to Astronomy magazine — in fact, he attributes his interest in astronomy to picking up a copy of the magazine years ago. Chris is now one of the world’s most accomplished imagers of the planets (see his website ht...
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Tele Vue Optics at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Nearly all of us in the amateur astronomy hobby know Al Nagler, who started Tele Vue Optics many years ago and introduced his revolutionary eyepiece designs, which really transformed telescopic observing. We will have some special coverage of Tele Vue and of Al’s storied career coming up in Astronomy magazine; for now, please enjoy this video tour by Al (who is joined by Jenna Elliott, our Youth Essay Contest winner) at last week’s Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in New York. Enjoy...
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Karen Jennings becomes Astronomy Foundation vice president

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
On Monday, May 7, 2012, Astronomy Foundation (AF) President David J. Eicher announced that Alex Khachaturyan, vice president of the Astronomy Foundation, has stepped aside, and that Delaware amateur astronomer and activist Karen Jennings is the foundation’s new vice president. Khachaturyan will continue as a member of the foundation and will continue providing help on the AF website with his company GammaFX. Jennings, a dedicated amateur astronomer and town council member in Townsend, Del...
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Celestron at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Most of you know that Celestron is one of the largest telescope manufacturers in the world and that the company has a wide range of products from complete scopes to accessories. Join Daniel Mounsey of Celestron at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, New York, last week, for this video tour of the company’s latest products and upcoming plans. Enjoy!   ...
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Meade Instruments Corp. at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
One of the largest telescope manufacturers in the world, Meade Instruments Corp., was at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) last week in full force. The company is celebrating its 40th anniversary year with a variety of new and exciting products, and here Vice President Chris Morrison describes many of the newest items Meade had on display at the telescope expo. Enjoy! ...
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Youth Essay Contest winner Jenna Elliott at NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
I was absolutely delighted to spend some time with Jenna Elliott of Sanford, North Carolina, who came to the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) last week with her father, Jim, an accomplished amateur astronomer. The magazine brought them to NEAF as the prize for Jenna’s great essay on astronomy. Just 12 years old and in 6th grade, Jenna is smart, savvy, articulate, and was lots of fun to hang out with. (You will see her infectious, confident personality trickling into some other videos we s...
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Geoff Notkin on the California fireball

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Check out this movie I shot on Friday at the Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC) in Suffern, New York. It features Geoff Notkin of the TV show Meteorite Men on the Science Channel talking about the April 22 meteorite that was widely witnessed in the west and fell in Northern California. Intrepid searchers have begun finding pieces of this meteorite fall in the vicinity of Coloma, California, near the original “strike” site of the 1849 California Gold Rush at Sutter’s Mi...
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On the road: Northeast Astronomy Forum, April 29, 2012

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
It’s Sunday night and I am sitting here absolutely, completely, utterly exhausted. And I know that many of the 4,000+ people who attended the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) this year are feeling exactly the same way. What a glorious time we all had talking, walking, eyeballing astronomical equipment, delivering talks, shooting videos, and holding meetings. I don’t know that I’ve ever gone through such a frenzied day at an astronomy meeting, and I’ve been to many dozens ...
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On the road: Northeast Astronomy Forum, April 28, 2012

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Wow. What a day. Where do I even begin? The 2012 version of the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), the largest telescope show and expo in the United States, kicked off with a bang.   Several hundred people were inside the Eugene C. Levy Fieldhouse at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York, by midmorning to see more than 140 exhibitors and their telescopes, binoculars, cameras, accessories, publications, meteorites, rocks, t-shirts, and outreach organizations. It was a day filled w...
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On the road: Northeast Astro Imaging Conference, April 27, 2012

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
The second day of NEAIC, the East Coast’s largest conference for astroimagers, went off perfectly and without a hitch. The meeting started early and featured a magnificently detailed, two-hour-long presentation by Philippine skyshooter Chris Go on high resolution planetary imaging. Chris’s masterful and artful shots of Jupiter, Saturn, and other planets are a delight to behold, and he shared many tips and techniques used for capturing his images with his own scopes and with professi...
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On the road: Northeast Astro Imaging Conference, April 26, 2012

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
The first day of the Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC) started off with a bang as conference organizer Bob Moore greeted the first of some 270 amateur astronomers registered for the event. His daughter, Caroline Moore, who in 2008 at age 14 became the youngest person to discover a supernova, was on hand helping out, too. The event kicked off at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Suffern, New York, at 9 a.m. Thursday. Astronomy magazine is a sponsor of the event, and I was glad to attend this par...
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On the road: NEAIC and NEAF 2012

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
Tomorrow I’ll leave for the Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC), which is being held on Thursday and Friday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Suffern, New York. I’ll be blogging about this largest annual meeting for sky imagers on the East Coast, and will hope to see many of the great folks who produce the sensational pictures of planets, galaxies, and nebulae that you see in Astronomy. On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll attend the Northeast Astronomy Forum, ...
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Philadelphia Science Festival underway, Astronomy Night this Friday!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
If you’re in or near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this week, I strongly encourage you to participate in the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, which began on Friday and lasts through the coming weekend. Astronomy magazine and the Astronomy Foundation are each proud to be partners in this big event, which last year drew 120,000 people to celebrate science. Now in its second year, the festival is a 10-day, community-wide celebration of science that features lectures, debates, hands-on act...
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Celestron has new president, leadership structure

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
A message sent out yesterday from Celestron’s Chief Executive Officer, Joe Lupica, announced a reorganized leadership structure at the largest telescope manufacturer in the United States. “I am proud to say the last three years have been record sales and income years for Celestron,” Lupica says, and he then elucidates his vision for strengthening Celestron’s management team for the future, which includes Lupica as CEO and longtime executive Alan Hale. The company’s ...
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An exhibition of astro art and jewels in Chicago!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
  I’ve known Tammy Kohl for many years — practically from the time I moved up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1982. She was the girlfriend of a friend at the time, and subsequently became a devoted jewelry artist in Chicago, Illinois, who has never lost her admiration for things astronomical. Now, Tammy and her collaborator Arica Hilton, a Chicago visual artist, have created an exhibition called “Where Stars are Born” at the Taköhl Gallery at 110 North Pe...
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One week to NEAIC; 10 days to NEAF!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
We’re just a week away from the Northeast Astro-Imaging Conference (NEAIC), which occurs April 26–27 in Suffern, New York (at the Crowne Plaza Conference Center). A two-day event held prior to the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), the world’s biggest telescope show and expo, NEAIC will bring together a couple hundred dedicated astroimagers for a high-level meeting of the minds. Astronomy magazine is proud to be a sponsor of this event, as well as of NEAF. The schedule no...
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"Astronomy" magazine's history — revisiting 1974!

Posted 5 years ago by David Eicher
I’ll be sharing the history of the magazine from time to time, a little at a time, in this blog. It’s a fascinating story that has witnessed astronomy grow in leaps and bounds as our understanding of the cosmos has deepened. And you can capture the whole history of the magazine on DVD for your computer — every page of every issue, 449 issues and more than 46,000 pages altogether. The DVD also includes the entire histories of Deep Sky and Telescope Making magazines, two quarter...