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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Astroimager Christopher Go on capturing planets

Posted 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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...
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Volunteers still needed for Philadelphia Science Festival Astronomy Night!

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
On April 27, 2012, Philadelphia will be looking toward the stars! Astronomy Night during the Philadelphia Science Festival will feature more than 22 star parties, taking place at universities, museums, recreation and community centers, and even two burial grounds! With stargazing sites in neighborhoods throughout the region, the Philadelphia Science Festival is looking for volunteer astronomers (both amateur and professional) to visit sites — telescopes/binoculars in hand — and share...
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Cool stuff from Bob Crelin

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
Connecticut amateur astronomer Bob Crelin is a clever fellow. He’s an inventor, designer, musician, skygazer, and more — and you may know some of his products. His Moon Gazer’s Wheel is a nice device for novice Moon watchers, and one you should recommend to those getting into amateur astronomy. By rotating the wheel and matching it to the Moon in the sky, the device reveals the phase, the Moon’s position in its orbit, the day of the lunar month, the rise and set...
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The birth of "Astronomy" magazine

Posted 6 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 qua...
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"Astronomy" Magazine Blues Band to play ALCon 2012

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
The astronomy world’s own rock ‘n’ roll and blues band, consisting of members from the staff of Astronomy magazine and its publisher, is set to play as entertainment for ALCon 2012. On Saturday, July 7, the band will rock it out for attendees of the annual meeting of the Astronomical League at the Lincolnshire Marriott in Lincolnshire, Illinois, some 32 miles northwest of Chicago City Center. (For info on this meeting, see this site.)Fronting the band are Wisconsin musicia...
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Volunteers needed for Philadelphia Science Festival Astronomy Night!

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
Do you remember the first time you looked at the night sky? What hooked you on astronomy? Share your passion for the sky with children, teens, families, and adults alike!  On April 27, 2012, Philadelphia will be looking toward the stars! Astronomy Night during the Philadelphia Science Festival will feature more than 22 star parties, taking place at universities, museums, recreation and community centers, and even two burial grounds! With stargazing sites in neighborhoods throughout the regi...
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Buy a luxury ranch in New Mexico — and make a donation to the Astronomy Foundation

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
Interested in a luxurious property under dark skies in southwestern New Mexico? Steve Cullen, formerly the president of LightBuckets, is selling his house, ranch, and observatory complex near Rodeo, New Mexico. It consists of 183 acres, a 5,500-square-foot house, a 2,640-square-foot workshop and garage, a professional-grade observatory, and a 2,244-square-foot barn. All this under the amazingly dark skies of this area, which are as good as any I’ve seen. And the asking price? A cool $1,095...
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Last night’s Venus-Pleiades conjunction caught!

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
I’m sure many of you are enjoying the beautiful conjunction between Venus and the Pleiades star cluster (M45) in Taurus happening these days. Friends and superb astroimagers Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre captured the view from their driveway in the Boston suburbs last night. The couple used a Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera, a 100-400mm lens, and a 1-second exposure.What a beautiful view!  ...
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I love my new microscope!

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
A short time ago, I acquired a beautiful new microscope, and I’ve been having lots of fun with it. I plan on sharing quite a few things I’ll do with it over the coming months. I’ve had a variety of microscopes over the years, several of them handed down to me from my Dad, who is a retired chemist. The primary microscope I’ve used for large things (rocks, leaves, bugs, etc.) is a zoom stereo microscope that employs low powers to look at relatively large things. Recently, h...
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Anthony Ayiomamitis images stars leaving the galaxy

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
A group of researchers led by Warren Brown of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has discovered a number of stars with high velocities that are being cast out of the Milky Way. Brown and his group discovered the first such star in 2005, and 20 more have followed. “These stars form a new class of astronomical objects,” said Brown, “exiled stars leaving the galaxy.” These suns are obviously quite rare; astronomers believe the Milky W...
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Victory in Arizona!

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
Thanks to everyone who read last week about the depressing news over light pollution in Arizona and turned activist. Powerful lobbyists had pushed for legislation that would have allowed exceptionally bright LED billboards to spring up around the state that is so well-known as a haven for observatories. The Arizona legislature passed the bill, forging a major defeat for astronomy in the state. However, your voice was heard loud and clear. Yesterday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill, ...
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Call for San Diego astro outreach volunteers!

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
Oceanside Photo & Telescope (OPT) is calling for volunteers in the San Diego, California, area to help with astronomy outreach at this year’s San Diego County Fair. The fair’s 2012 theme will be “Out of this World” and will feature many space- and astronomy-related events. Craig Weatherwax, Penny Distasio, and the folks at OPT are looking for volunteers to bring telescopes and to hang out to talk astronomy with the masses of people who attend the fair. The fair g...
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How "Astronomy" magazine started — and its history on DVD

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
What a fitting way to celebrate my 200th blog! Here is the story of how University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point journalism student Steve Walther started Astronomy magazine 39 years ago. 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...
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A personal and unique view on the cosmos

Posted 6 years ago by David Eicher
This fine little film about the cosmos and the author’s perspective on it is really charming. I saw it online yesterday when its creator, Robert M. Powell, posted it during a science discussion. Bob is an amateur astronomer in Mequon, Wisconsin, and relishes his time under the stars. Titled “My sacred space,” it describes in brief the joy that Powell feels when under the sky at night with his telescope. He submitted it to WGBH in Boston as a short video entry in late 2010...

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