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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New York 20th Anniversary Starfest a great success!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
On Saturday evening, October 17, I was delighted to be a special guest at the 20th anniversary Starfest, a huge urban star party put on by the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York (AAA). The AAA is the nation’s largest astronomy club and, led by their energetic president, Marcelo Cabrera, they do a fantastic and nearly nonstop job of putting on numerous outreach events, showing the wonders of the universe to the public.For 20 years now, the AAA has hosted a great public stargaze in ...
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Dave Eicher speaks at the American Museum of Natural History

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
On Friday evening, October 16, I had the pleasure of addressing the Amateur Astronomers Association (AAA) of New York at the American Museum of Natural History. This was the first in this year’s cycle of invited talks on astronomy at the museum in a series that goes many years back and has offered talks on the entire spectrum of astronomy. My talk, “The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions,” lasted an hour, and thanks to a wonderful and large crowd of more...
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Join the celebration on White House Astronomy Night

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
From the American Astronomical Society, with thanks to Rick Fienberg, and adapted from a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog post:Press release: Astronomy has long been one of the most accessible sciences for children and adults alike. Around the world, people gaze at the Moon and stars with wonder and curiosity, inspired to ask questions about the universe and the world in which we live.“There are a lot of mysteries left, and there are a lot of problems for you studen...
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Dave Eicher talks in New York City this weekend

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
On Thursday, I’ll head to New York City to participate in two great astronomical events, both sponsored by the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, the largest astronomy club in the country. I will speak at the American Museum of Natural History on Friday evening, October 16th, at 6:15 p.m. EDT, in the museum’s Kaufmann Theater. The talk will be “The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions” and will present lots of recent science on a variety of topi...
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Watch Stephen Hawking Starmus: The Power of a Human Mind video

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
This new video has been created by the folks at Starmus and features footage from Starmus Festival II, which took place in September 2014. Starmus Festival III, a tribute to Stephen Hawking, will take place in the Canary Islands in June 2016. For more information, see www.starmus.com.Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar cs_setInnerHtml('video_8540210d-401b-4134-b7ce-878a1b23ff14',''); ...
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Press release: Astronomy magazine joins in partnership with SciStarter to promote citizen science projects

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
I’m delighted to announce that good friend Darlene Cavalier of SciStarter and the Science Cheerleaders has initiated a partnership with Astronomy magazine to bring you astronomically themed citizen science projects. You can find them on Astronomy.com. Press release follows . . . Astronomy enthusiasts can join forces with researchers through a partnership between Astronomy magazine and SciStarterA “citizen science” movement is sweeping the country. Now, astronomy enthusiasts who...
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Press release: Stephen Hawking presents the third edition of Starmus Festival in Tenerife

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
•    The theoretical physicist returned to the Canary Islands to announce a star panel of speakers, including twelve Nobel laureates and renowned participants in the  space race, who will headline the international festival from June 27 to July 2, 2016•    The third edition, “Beyond the horizon – A tribute to Stephen Hawking,” catapults this festival as the most ambitious one in science dissemination •    In the w...
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Reliving a very dark lunar eclipse

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Last night was quite a night for astronomy enthusiasts. I spent the evening at home in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with a football game on in the background and working on a variety of projects. When the eclipse began, we had a little scattered cloud in the area. But for the most part, it dissipated, and by the time totality commenced at 9:11 p.m. CDT, the sky around the Moon was clear. What an incredibly dark eclipse! My friend David Levy estimated it at an L=2 on the Danjon Scale, which means it was ...
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What does today's Mars announcement really mean?

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Today, the astronomy world has been rocked by a major announcement on Mars and the existence of flowing water on the planet’s surface. What does this finding really mean? It’s very significant, even if clues and signs for this kind of temporary surface water, high in salt content, have been around for a while. We now have clear evidence of summertime flows of briny water on the surface. One of the great questions in planetary science centers on martian water. Lots of evidence exists ...
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"Breakthrough! 100 Astronomical Images That Changed the World"

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
If you even are remotely into astroimaging, you should know about a new book by two great astroimagers, Robert Gendler and R. Jay GaBany. Breakthrough! 100 Astronomical Images That Changed the World (Springer-Verlag, New York, 2015, 171 pp., $34.99, ISBN 978–3319209722) is a forthcoming title that will give you great pleasure. Reviewing 175 years of astronomical photography, the authors have selected important images that capture the history of our unfolding knowledge of the cosmos. The su...
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Catching up with Kevin Ritschel

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
An old friend stopped by yesterday. Some 35 years ago, when he was a young vice president at Celestron, Kevin Ritschel became a contributing writer for Deep Sky Monthly, the magazine I had started in high school. He has since been in the thick of the telescope industry in a variety of places, very involved in lots of things “behind the scenes.” He has been an executive not only at Celestron, but also Orion Telescopes and Binoculars. Now Kevin is working on a variety of projects, so...
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Watch Martin Rees' outstanding lecture

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
One of the greatest astronomers we have on Earth is the English Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, Lord Rees of Ludlow. A Fellow of Trinity College at Cambridge University and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, Rees has an understanding of the universe matched by very few. He recently sent me the link to a wonderful talk given by him last week at Gresham College in London, site of the founding of the Royal Society. The talk is titled: “A Cosmic Per...
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Steve Cullen joins Astronomy Foundation board

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
I’m delighted to announce that Steve Cullen, who has served for the last several months as the Astronomy Foundation’s executive director, has joined the foundation’s board of directors. The Astronomy Foundation is the telescope industry outreach group that has recently become a nonprofit entity and will be working to promote the hobby of astronomy. Also on the board are David Eicher (president), Karen Jennings (vice president), Rick Hedrick (secretary), Scott Kardel, Vic Maris,...
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Follow "The Journal of Irreproducible Results!"

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
When I was a teenager, I had the great fortune to meet one of the go-getters in the astronomy hobby, Norm Sperling. In the late 1970s, Norm was an assistant editor at Sky & Telescope, and he provided the first national exposure for my handmade journal, Deep Sky Monthly. In the years since, Norm has taught astronomy at various universities in the Bay Area, founded and operated the creative company Everything in the Universe, co-designed the magnificent Astroscan telescope, and edited that dev...
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Visit from an old friend, Norm Sperling

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
This Monday morning, I had a delightful email from an old friend I hadn’t talked to in ages. Norm Sperling, well known astronomy enthusiast, editor, writer, and intellectual, was in the area, and he ended up having lunch with the Astronomy staff today. Back in the day, Norm was an editor at Sky & Telescope magazine in Boston, and he has been a tireless promoter of astronomy to people of all ages. Aside from teaching at the University of California-Berkeley, serving as the editor of the...
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Watch the Asteroid Day London discussion

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
A month ago, June 30, astronomers around the world marked the first Asteroid Day, drawing attention to the need for a better survey of near-Earth asteroids. Now you can watch the panel discussion that took place at the Science Museum in London, involving founder Grig Richters, Brian May, Stuart Clark, Sir Crispin Tickell, Debbie Lewis, Richard Crowther, Alan Fitzsimmons, Lord Martin Rees, and Lewis Dartnell. cs_setInnerHtml('video_a8d1806a-71fb-4225-8a95-4ca55cd4ad34',''); Follow David J. Eiche...
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Astronomy magazine at EAA Airventure Oshkosh

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
On Friday, July 24, 2015, Senior Editor Michael Bakich and I traveled to the world’s greatest airshow, EAA Airventure Oshkosh, to scope out the events being held by NASA and other cool things. Each year, more than 10,000 pilots flock to Oshkosh, some 100 miles north of Astronomy’s headquarters, to show their planes and celebrate flight. And spaceflight is always a part of the fun. On Friday, NASA held a forum discussing increasing opportunities for women in aerospace, with Susan Bagg...
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Making sense of Pluto

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
A week later, the incredible historic moment has passed. The flyby occurred. We have seen some spectacular images of Pluto and Charon. Let's take a breath to make sense of the Pluto we now know.First, congratulations to Alan Stern and the entire New Horizons team. What a spectacular achievement, and the information will keep pouring in. Although this was a flyby, the mission design dictates that data will continue to be returned, processed, and released for another 16 months. So get ready to con...
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Check out Rhodri Evans' "The Cosmic Microwave Background"

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
It’s relatively rare that an astronomy book rolls along that I think astronomy enthusiasts MUST have. Such is the case, however, with The Cosmic Microwave Background, new from Springer. Welsh research fellow astronomer Rhodri Evans of Cardiff University has produced a compelling book, woven together with many stories of his personal interactions with key players, about the central string of cosmology, the microwave background radiation. The book (full title: The Cosmic Microwave Background...
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Yuri Milner, Stephen Hawking, others announce unprecedented new SETI survey

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
A momentous event in searching for life in the universe occurred today during a press conference held in London. Breakthrough Prize chairman Yuri Milner, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and a host of other scientists announced a $100 million effort to detect extraterrestrial civilizations in a new way. The Breakthrough Initiative is designed to “dramatically accelerate the search for intelligent life in the universe.”Scientists making the announcement included Hawking, Martin ...
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Asteroid Day blog post from Debbie Lewis

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Please read this new Asteroid Day blog post from Debbie Lewis, a risk crisis and disaster management specialist who is an Asteroid Day science advisor. I think you will find it thought provoking . . . Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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New Horizons makes history at Pluto

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Congratulations to Alan Stern and the entire New Horizons team for today’s historic flyby success at Pluto!The color image released this morning is magnificent and will be in a sense the opening salvo of 16 months of data scientists receive and analyze for years to come. What a terrific day!Already, it’s clear that the icy terrain is more complex than we might have imagined. The bright “heart” feature contains variegated ices, one area being much smoother than the ot...
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Article on Garik Israelian published in "The Financial Times"

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Check out this great story about my friend Garik Israelian, astrophysicist at the Institute for Astrophysics in Tenerife, and founder and director of the Starmus Festival.What a nice piece!(Note: The Financial Times has a pay wall. You must pay a subscription fee to access the article.)Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Dave Eicher astrophysics book to be published in November

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
The product of my last few months’ writing, The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions, will be published this November by Cambridge University Press. It’ll consist of about 100,000 words and 100 color photos on hot developing topics in astrophysics, cosmology, and planetary science of the last 10 to 15 years, including: How the Sun will die; the end of life on Earth; the history of water on Mars; why Venus turned inside-out; how the Moon formed; Pluto’s planetar...
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Dave Eicher to speak at American Museum of Natural History; participate in 20th anniversary StarFest

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
I want to thank my good friends in the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York (AAA) — Marcelo Cabrera, Susan Andreoli, and David Kraft — for inviting me to speak this fall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. On Friday, October 16, 2015, I’ll deliver a lecture, “The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions,” a talk that broadly describes many of the “big science” themes of discovery in my forthcomin...
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New video: "The Wait: New Horizons at Pluto"

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
As we wait for the close approach of New Horizons to Pluto a week from now, I think you’ll want to see this video cs_setInnerHtml('video_afdbd9f6-71b6-4ffb-aeb0-cf426c099461',''); Thanks to Alan Stern!Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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On Asteroid Day, the realities of asteroid impact dangers

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Over the past weeks, as Asteroid Day has approached, I’ve seen lots of talk one way or the other about the realities of danger from near-Earth asteroids.The real reality? On any given day, the danger is extremely low. Eventually, however, small and large asteroids will again strike Earth.Last spring, I wrote a meticulous 4,000-word story about the dangers from asteroids, after consulting with numerous experts in the field.You can read it here.And then join the discussion. But join it in an...
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Join us for today's Asteroid Day activities

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
The day is finally here! Today, on the 107th anniversary of the Tunguska event, an explosion caused by an incoming asteroid or comet that flattened more than 2,000 square kilometers of forest in central Siberia, people around the world are participating in Asteroid Day. Asteroid Day global movement is a  global day of awareness and public education about asteroids. At science centers and schools, homes, and community centers around the world, including in England, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Cana...
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The Chicago astronomer and Astronomy magazine!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Joe Guzman, who is out there doing astronomy outreach all over the city of Chicago, well known as the Chicago Astronomer, sent me this last week:“The Chicago Astronomer Astro Club uses Astronomy magazine as part of our class lessons. We will continue to meet over the summer break while school is out.Solid.”Fantastic, Joe!! Keep those kids’ eyes on the sky! Follow David J. Eicher on Twitter: www.twitter.com/deicherstar...
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Registration opens for Starmus, sign up today!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
You can now register for next year’s Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands, the premier science festival in the world. Next year’s event will honor Stephen Hawking and will be titled “Beyond the Horizon: Tribute to Stephen Hawking.” It will take place in Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands, June 27–July 2, 2016. The speakers will include:• Stephen Hawking• 10 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, including Harry Kroto, Robert Wilson, Adam Riess, and Bria...