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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Read Mark Boslough’s blog on the Jupiter impact

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
As many of you know, a small solar system body impacted Jupiter once again, this time on March 17, 2016, St. Patrick’s Day. Austrian amateur astronomer Gerrit Kernbauer was the first to observe the impact scar. I encourage you to read Mark Boslough’s blog on the Asteroid Day website.Boslough is chair of the Asteroid Day Expert Panel, and a physicist and authority on impacts at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. You can also read an interview with the discoverer.Follow Dave E...
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Asteroid Day’s Don Yeomans: Will asteroid 2013 TX68 strike Earth?

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Please read the expert panel story from JPL’s Don Yeomans, one of Earth’s greatest authorities on asteroid science. Don gives you the straight story on asteroid 2013 TX68, which originally showed a remote possibility of striking Earth, and the confusion and misinformation that has followed. There’s so much poor quality stuff out in social media now that it’s important to get the real story from those who know. This blog will give it to you! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, ...
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Stephen Hawking remembers his best teacher

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
The BBC has just posted a really nice story about Stephen Hawking’s most influential teacher — an Armenian man who escaped genocide with his parents, and went on to affect the world greatly by encouraging Stephen. Dikran Tahta died in 2006, but Stephen has recorded a video commending his teacher, which you can see in the BBC story.Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his Author Page on Facebook....
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David Helfand lecture upcoming

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
If you’re in the New York City area in two weeks, you won’t want to miss an important lecture by astrophysicist David Helfand. A professor at Columbia University and brilliant writer, Helfand will discuss “Climate Change: What We Know and What We Don’t Know” as part of the One Day University live talks. The event will take place March 21, 2016, from 7 to 9 p.m. and will be hosted by Claudia Dreifus of The New York Times. The venue is the New York Institute of T...
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J. Richard Gott on The Cosmic Web

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
When we think of galaxies, we normally think of lots of objects that are very close to us in space. It’s difficult for the very distant galaxies, and very largest structures, to spring into our minds. And yet this is where the highest understanding of how galaxies function, and how the universe is organized, resides — in the large-scale structure of the cosmos. J. Richard Gott, professor of astrophysics at Princeton University, has been at the forefront of extragalactic research for ...
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Dava Sobel issues wonderful Copernicus play, And the Sun Stood Still

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Any lover of science literature knows the wonderful Dava Sobel, and I really count it as a privilege to know her — a wonderful spirit. You probably have read her Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter, The Planets, or A More Perfect Heaven — or at least you should read them. Dava has produced an entertaining work just out that describes an historic encounter of scientists. The story centers on the great Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who of course produced his landmark...
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Paul Spudis’ excellent The Value of the Moon

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Mars is most frequently the watchword in planetary exploration. The majority of NASA’s planetary exploration budget has been focused on it, it’s the next big leap in sending humans out into the solar system, and Buzz Aldrin has admirably led a campaign to publicize the need for a Mars mission with his “Get your *** to Mars” movement. But Mars isn’t the only game in town.Planetary scientist Paul Spudis, well known as a lunar expert for many years and a stalwart ...
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Please support the International Dark-Sky Association!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
I encourage you to read the letter below, which was just published in The Reflector, the journal of the Astronomical League. In it, John Goss, president of the Astronomical League, Peter Tyson, editor-in-chief of Sky & Telescope, and myself have signed a letter urging astronomy enthusiasts to take action against light pollution. The vanishing night sky is a threat to everyone’s enjoyment of and understanding of the universe we inhabit. We jointly strongly ask you to communicate with an...
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A high precision book on a high precision measurement

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Two years ago, the Planck mission group at the European Space Agency produced a substantial data release that defined the best-ever measured age of the universe at 13.8 billion years. This was slightly older than previous best estimates. This important moment in defining one of the universe’s fundamental parameters caused John Gribbin, one of our premier science writers, to issue a new book. Gribbin’s 13.8: The Quest to Find the True Age of the Universe and the Theory of Everything, ...
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Take the Asteroid Day Chelyabinsk quiz!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
What to do on a winter Monday? How about testing your skills on the Chelyabinsk meteorite fall of 2013, which cascaded into Russia, produced an incredible fireball, and unfortunately injured people on the ground. Grig Richters, one of the founders of Asteroid Day, has produced a video blog update on Asteroid Day and a quiz relating to Chelyabinsk. Have fun! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter, and please check out his Author Page on Facebook....
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A book you absolutely must read: David J. Helfand’s A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
I’ve known quite a few astronomers over the years who I consider to be geniuses. And David Helfand is one of them. Former chair of the Department of Astronomy at Columbia University; a founding tutor and president of Quest University in Canada; former president of the American Astronomical Society; and much more, Helfand is a man brimming with incredible insights on the universe. Some of you know that I’ve written about the current miserable state of scientific thinking in this count...
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New era in astronomy begins with gravitational wave detection

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
This morning’s historic press conference in Washington ushered in a new era of astronomy, in a very exciting way. The director of the National Science Foundation, astronomer France Córdova, led the discussion that announced the detection of gravitational waves from two merging black holes, the first such detection in history. Einstein predicted that merging black holes should produce ripples in space-time in his General Theory of Relativity a century ago. And the LIGO project, Laser...
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Dave Eicher’s The New Cosmos wins 2016 PROSE Award

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Astronomy Editor David Eicher’s book The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions has won honorable mention at the 2016 PROSE Awards, book awards given for excellence in professional and scholarly publishing. The awards are administered by the Association of American Publishers, and are recognized at the group’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Eicher‘s book won honorable mention in the category of popular science writing. The book has just been published by Camb...
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Asteroid Day 2016 announced, set for June 30

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
**PRESS RELEASE**ASTEROID DAY 2016 LAUNCHED AT EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY WITH SUPPORT FROM 20 GLOBAL PARTNERS, SIX INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES, AND A MESSAGE FROM OUTER SPACEAsteroid Day, a global movement supporting increased awareness and education of asteroids, announced its plans for 2016 in a press conference live from ESA ESTEC and live streamed to the world — with messages from every continent on the globe and a special message from outer space.Participants included co-founders Dr. Brian May...
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Uwingu announces 2016 Valentine's Day space gift ideas

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE Boulder, Colorado — Make a Special Impact on Someone at Valentine’s DayToday, space public engagement company Uwingu announced three space themed ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day: Name a crater on Mars for family, friends, or loved ones on our Mars map! Each crater named receives a special Valentine’s Day certificate. Name an exoplanet around another star for family, friends, or loved ones. Send a yearlong gift subscription to family, friends, or love...
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Asteroid Day press conference set for Tuesday, February 9

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
**PRESS RELEASE**ASTEROID DAY 2016 TO ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERS ANDORGANIZATION FOR WORLDWIDE EVENTS ON JUNE 30; PRESSCONFERENCE ON FEBRUARY 9 CO-HOSTED BY ESA ESTEC IN THE NETHERLANDSBuilding on the highly successful first-ever Asteroid Day in 2015, organizers, together with the European Space Agency, will announce partners and the addition of premier and independently organized events for Asteroid Day 2016, scheduled for June 30 around the world.Date of Press Conference: February 9, 2016Time: 15:0...
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Amy Shira Teitel’s Breaking the Chains of Gravity

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
The world has been flooded in recent years with books about spaceflight, particularly centered on the Apollo era. Those who adore the golden age of space exploration are very well provisioned for their intellectual journeys into the past. But such is not the case, until now, for the formative years of space exploration —i.e., pre NASA. Amy Shira Teitel is well known on social media for tireless promotion of the golden age of space exploration. She produced terrific video coverage of some h...
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Challenger after 30 years: a solemn reminder

Posted one year ago by Olympia
Thirty years ago today, Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its journey. Today we hold a special remembrance for the astronauts lost on that mission, as well as those of Columbia and Apollo 1. I took this image of the left side panel of Challenger on display at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida just a few weeks ago. Let us remember that space travel is hard, and that we all need to meet the coming frontiers together. That is the only way humanity can push forward, explore the uni...
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A Sickness Over the Land: Special online science feature now available!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
In many places in the world, science is under attack. The quality of information shared between people is seemingly getting worse, plagued by inaccuracies, exaggerations, overreactions, and outright lies. In many places, pseudoscience is winning the day over science. “The Big Bang never happened.”“GMOs are bad for you and there’s a conspiracy to push them at consumers.” “Global warming doesn’t exist.”“Vaccines are killing children.” In ...
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New Asteroid Day website and Asteroids IV book review

Posted one year ago by Korey Haynes
Our friends at the Asteroid Day project have a brand new website loaded with resources for those interested in space rocks. And it will be the premier site for anything you’d like to know about pushing forward research on Near-Earth Objects, which we need to do. Of course planetary scientists know about the biggest NEOs, and they have now catalogued more than 9,000 such objects smaller than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) in diameter. But the work needs to continue to keep Earth’s future saf...
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A wonderful short astronomy video!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Check out this beautiful video, “The Art and Science of Stars,” which was produced by the staff of USC-Dornsife in Los Angeles. It is a marvelous reflection on the night sky, the meaning of stars, and humanity! Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter and check out his author page on Facebook. ...
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Hey Dave, what happened to your book?

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
I’ve received a growing number of emails and messages over the past several days, so I think I ought to address this. My book The New Cosmos was published by Cambridge University Press a couple weeks ago, and it is suddenly very hard to find. We’ve had some wonderful press and reaction, and the book is ranked #1 in Astronomy and Astrophysics on Amazon.com. But it has been temporarily unavailable from many sources since the first day it went on sale.That is a nice problem to have, you...
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Asteroid Day: Mark Boslough on Younger Dryas, Carolina Bay depressions

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Our friends at Asteroid Day have commenced an online series of questions and answers, and the first two have been answered by Mark Boslough. Mark is the chair of the Asteroid Day Expert Panel and is a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. He is an expert on impacts on Earth, among other things. I think you’ll find the discussion here captivating. The Younger Dryas is a period of cooling on Earth that commenced about 12,900 years ago, at the end of the last ice age. Secon...
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Book STARMUS now at lowest rate: 4 days left!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
The third Starmus Festival is set to take place on Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, June 26–July 2, 2016. It is the most incredible science festival in the world and will host a unique blend of science, art, and music that will blow your minds! The Starmus organizers have alerted us to a price hike: the early bird registration fee, €500, will be raised to €700 on January 15, 2016. So book now! You have four days until the price goes up! Starmus 3 will be a once-in-a-...
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RIP David Bowie, 1947–2016

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
A terribly sad day on Earth, with one less very special person. A tragic loss for music, for the arts, for film, and for the curious with the departure of this amazingly talented man. From our friends at Asteroid Day:Rest in Peace, David Bowie. Did you know that he has an asteroid named after him? 342843 Davidbowie. Thanks to the European Space Agency for this additional information: On January 5, 2015, an asteroid was named after David Bowie: (342843) 2008 YN3 = Davidbowie. http://www.mino...
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Stars shine for everyone

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Please see this website in the United Kingdom (UK) to help spread astronomy with those who are less fortunate.Telescopes for charity

Children with special educational needs and more vulnerable people should also be given the chance to look through a telescope and explore the Moon, the planets, and the stars. The idea comes from Jean Pierre Grootaerd and Harrie Rutten who started this initiative in Belgium and the Netherlands with the support of Volkssterrenwacht Armand Pien, Universiteit Gent, ...
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U.S. Postal Service celebrates Pluto in stamps

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
My friend Raj Pillai, a chemical engineer and Pluto enthusiast, shared his enthusiasm last week about the U.S. Postal Service announcement of a Pluto stamp set. Pluto — Explored! will consist of a four-stamp pane of Forever postage stamps depicting Pluto along with the New Horizons spacecraft. The stamps will be inaugurated during the World Stamp Show 2016 in New York in late May. “U.S. postal stamps express the enthusiasm and personality of senders to favorite themes in our soc...
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Dave Eicher to speak on "The New Cosmos" at Harvard University

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
On Thursday, May 19, 2016, Astronomy Editor Dave Eicher will speak on “The New Cosmos” at the Phillips Auditorium at Harvard University. Eicher last spoke at Harvard in 2013; he will now address topics from his new book The New Cosmos, which range from the fate of the Sun and life on Earth to water on Mars, the Big Bang, dark energy, and the meaning of life in the universe. The lecture will be open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. Entrance will be from the west of the H...
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Photos and Brian May's speech from the Hawking medal announcement

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
You can click here to see more photos from the launch of the Stephen Hawking Medal in London last Wednesday, where Brian May, Garik Israelian, Alexei Leonov, Stephen Hawking, Harry Kroto, Richard Dawkins, Kip Thorne, and Hans Zimmer participated in the announcement ceremony. You can also read Brian May’s comments at the ceremony. The astrophysicist and Queen founding member and guitarist is on the board of directors of the Starmus Festival, along with Israelian, Leonov, Hawking, Kroto, and...
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Starmus announces ground-breaking Stephen Hawking medals for science communication

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
•    Milestone award for those promoting science throughout the arts•    Launched under the name of the greatest scientist of the last century, in the context of STARMUS, the most ambitious science festival of all time •    Hawking: “I am delighted to present the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication to be awarded next year at the STARMUS festival in Tenerife. This medal will recognize excellence in science communication...

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