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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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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Uwingu announces daily space image subscription service

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Our friends at Uwingu have announced a service delivering curated, high-quality images that will be sent to subscribers on a daily basis. A press release follows . . . Boulder, Colorado— Just in time for the holidays, space company Uwingu is announcing the launch of a new product — Daily Space Explorer — that anyone can subscribe to, or give as a gift, by going to www.uwingu.com.Each subscription sends the subscriber 365 daily electronic high-definition space and astronomy imag...
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More treasures of the Kennedy Space Center

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Last week, I spent two days at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Merrit Island, Florida, for a behind-the-scenes tour. Although warm temperatures are embracing much of the United States right now, the weather was beautiful on Cocoa Beach, where I was staying, and made touring outdoor aspects of KSC a pleasure.Kennedy Space Center is a national treasure, and my tour of the facilities included hundreds of notable features. I photographed them all diligently and will produce a detailed story f...
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Asteroid Day announces logo contest!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Grig Richters, Founder of the Asteroid Day project, has announced a logo contest in which you can propose the official logo for Asteroid Day. The judges will be Brian May, astrophysicist and founding member of Queen, and astronauts Chris Hadfield and Tom Jones. Asteroid Day is an international movement that has delivered great interest and knowledge in Near-Earth Asteroids and the dangers they pose to colliding with our planet. We need to discover many more than the ~12,000 now known. And you ca...
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Treasures of the Kennedy Space Center

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Last week, I spent two days at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Merrit Island, Florida, for a behind-the-scenes tour. Although warm temperatures are embracing much of the United States right now, the weather was beautiful on Cocoa Beach, where I was staying, and made touring outdoor aspects of KSC a pleasure. Kennedy Space Center is a national treasure, and my tour of the facilities included hundreds of notable features. I photographed them all diligently and will produce a detailed story for a...
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Heading to the Kennedy Space Center

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Tomorrow morning, I’ll fly to Orlando and then head east to the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. For two days, I’ll be working on seeing some folks and touring the facilities to assemble a “behind the scenes” story for Astronomy magazine. Stay tuned for some blogs and other updates. And keep looking up. Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter: @deicherstarAnd please check out David J. Eicher’s Author Page on Facebook....
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"Rainbow of Light" performed by Katerina Mina celebrates astronomy and life!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
I want to tell you about a terrific new song from a couple of friends I made at last year’s Starmus Festival. “Rainbow of Light (Anthem)” by Linda Lamon, and performed by the great soprano Katerina Mina, is a celebration of the universe. It is now available on iTunes. All of us who attended Starmus last year were treated when Katerina performed, and you will adore this song once you hear it. You can watch the video on Youtube.A press release follows.Enjoy!Follow Dave Eiche...
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David Eicher's THE NEW COSMOS published

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Astronomy magazine’s editor-in-chief’s new book offers new thoughts on “hot topics” of astrophysics, cosmology, and planetary science.Drawing its inspiration from Carl Sagan and his original book/TV series Cosmos, and Eicher’s friendship with Sagan, the book explains and celebrates tremendous advances of the past decade or so in key areas of great interest to astronomers. The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions, by David J. Eicher (279 pp., hardcov...
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Two wonderful books about light

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Anyone who loves astronomy and the night sky knows that light is the key. As humans, visible light is the way we see the universe — photons slamming into our eyes. Two new terrific books explore the electromagnetic spectrum and how we see and appreciate astronomical images. The first is Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond by Kimberly Arcand and Megan Watzke (208 pp., hardcover, Black Dog & Leventhal, New York, 2015, $29.99; ISBN 978–1–63191–006–7). This ...
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Happy birthday Carl Sagan!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
As many of you know, today would have been Carl Sagan’s 81st birthday. Carl changed the world of astronomy and also science popularization dramatically throughout his career, largely with the spectacular PBS series Cosmos, which aired in 1980 and opened the eyes of many to the universe. I miss Carl Sagan and owe him much — he encouraged me to get into science popularization. There really has never been anyone quite like him before or since. Here is a piece that I wrote for Astro...
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A great biography of Milton Humason

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Many of you might know something about the amazing story of astronomer Milton Humason. Born in 1891, he dropped out of school at age 14 and eventually became a mule skinner on Mt. Wilson, near Los Angeles, during the period of World War I. He then took a job as janitor at the newly inaugurated Mt. Wilson Observatory and self-educated to the point where he transformed into an astronomer, helping Edwin Hubble and others with crucially important research on the nature of galaxies and the universe.A...
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Incredibly neat lunar surface models!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
One of the nice folks I met on my recent New York trip was Howard Fink, an enthusiastic amateur astronomer and observer who has made some really neat Moon models. Howard is an active member of the Amateur Astronomers Association and produces these plastic models of various craters for sale. They are handmade works of art, and really quite incredible. I have not seen anything exactly like them before, and I thought some of you lunar observers would want to know about them! You can go to these sit...
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Photos from Eicher New York talk, and a nice book comment!

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Thanks so much to Stan Honda of the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York for shooting these images of my talk at the American Museum of Natural History last week. I had a wonderful time and spoke at great length about subjects from my upcoming book, The New Cosmos, due out in November. I also received a lovely quotation from Alan Stern, who was gracious enough to read the book manuscript. Alan is, of course, the well-known principal investigator of the New Horizons Pluto mission we all ha...
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New book by George Musser examines “Spooky action at a distance”

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
One of the most compelling science journalists, George Musser, has written an important and highly enjoyable new book on particle physics, its many mysteries, and particularly the weirdly possible worlds of quantum entanglement, what Einstein called “Spooky action at a distance.”Does quantum mechanics allow two particles separated by huge distances in space “know” what the other particles are doing, and in fact interact with them? Musser’s new book is Spooky Ac...
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Steve Nadis' new book details China's quest to unlock the heavens

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Astronomy Contributing Editor Steve Nadis has just produced a book along with Shing-Tung Yau of Harvard University that will be of great interest to students of astronomy. The book is From the Great Wall to the Great Collider: China and the Quest to Uncover the Inner Workings of the Universe (167 pp., hardcover, International Press of Boston, Somerville, Mass., 2015; $29.50, ISBN 978-1-57146-310-4). This work is about astronomy, China, and also particle physics! It covers the 2012 discovery of t...
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Astronomy magazine nets Honorable Mention in Folio magazine Eddie Awards

Posted one year ago by David Eicher
Congratulations to the editors, writers, photographers, and illustrators of Astronomy magazine, the world’s largest magazine on the subject, for being honored as an Honorable Mention finalist in the annual Eddie Awards for editorial excellence. Each year Folio magazine, the publishing industry’s bible, recognizes publications for outstanding editorial work with their Eddie Awards. This year, Astronomy magazine’s March 2015 package, “500 Coolest Things about Space,”&...
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New York 20th Anniversary Starfest a great success!

Posted 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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_39a4ac4e-7a39-444e-b0e2-fe2f197e4685',''); ...
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Press release: Astronomy magazine joins in partnership with SciStarter to promote citizen science projects

Posted 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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...