Dave Eicher is one of the most widely recognized astronomy enthusiasts in the world. He has been with Astronomy magazine for 34 years, beginning as an assistant editor and working through associate, senior, and managing positions. He has been the magazine’s chief editor since 2002.
Dave has spoken widely to amateur astronomy groups, logged many hundreds of hours at the eyepiece, and written eight books on astronomy. Among the most used by amateur astronomers are The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions (Cambridge University Press), Comets: Visitors from Deep Space (Cambridge University Press), The Universe from Your Backyard (Cambridge University Press), Deep-Sky Observing with Small Telescopes (Enslow), and Stars and Galaxies (Kalmbach Books).
In 2014, Dave wrote and edited, along with Queen guitarist and astronomer Brian May and astronomer Garik Israelian, Starmus: 50 Years of Man in Space, the volume of talks and presentations from the 2011 Starmus Festival of astronomy, cosmology, space exploration, and music held in the Canary Islands. In 2016 he edited the follow-up volume, Starmus: Discovering the Universe.
He has spoken to many science and business groups around the world, including at Harvard University, the Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Dave is also busy writing a major book about galaxies.
A native of Oxford, Ohio, Dave grew up around Miami University, where his father was a professor of organic chemistry. Rather than turning to chemistry, however, Dave was attracted to the stars as a 14-year-old when he spotted Saturn through a small telescope at a star party. Comet West really turned him on to observing, and Dave soon went far beyond to explore clusters, nebulae, and galaxies from his dark backyard — he soon was hooked on viewing deep-sky objects.
In 1977, Dave founded and began editing the magazine Deep Sky Monthly. Five years later, the publication moved with Dave to Milwaukee, turned quarterly, and was renamed Deep Sky, which was issued regularly until 1992. In addition to his book writing, Dave has written or edited hundreds of articles on all facets of astronomy, science and hobby. In 1990, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet, 3617 Eicher, for Dave in recognition of his service to astronomy.
Dave become president of the Astronomy Foundation, the telescope industry and astronomy outreach group, in 2011.
Dave has appeared on CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, and other media outlets to promote the science and hobby of astronomy. He has written planetarium shows for Adler Planetarium in Chicago and film scripts for NASA.
In his free time, Dave has studied Civil War history; he has written eight books on the subject, including The Longest Night (Simon & Schuster), Dixie Betrayed (Little Brown), The Civil War in Books (University of Illinois Press), and Civil War High Commands (written with his father, John, Stanford University Press).
Dave is also enthusiastically interested in minerals and meteorites and has a collection of more than 1,500 specimens representing Earth and a smattering of asteroids in this branch of planetary science.
An accomplished rock and blues drummer, Dave enjoys jamming with his colleagues at Kalmbach Publishing Co., and the focus is on blues and blues-rock, centering on the styles of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Allman Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and others. Dave is also a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, and during the football season, you will often find him in Lambeau Field.
He lives in Waukesha Township, Wisconsin, near Big Bend, with his wife, Lynda, and son, Chris.