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David John Eicher (born August 7, 1961, Oxford, Ohio) is an amateur astronomer and author. He is editor-in-chief of Astronomy magazine, and author of popular astronomy and American History publications.[1] He is the son of John Harold Eicher (born March 30, 1921), a professor of organic chemistry at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Susan Ann Arne Eicher (1923–1983), a housewife.


David J. Eicher

Eicher lives near Big Bend, Wisconsin, with his wife, Lynda Ann Tortomasi Eicher and son, Christopher David Eicher (born 1992).[2]

Early Youth[]

At age 14, Eicher was attracted to astronomy when he saw Saturn through a small telescope. In high-school, Eicher wrote for their astronomy club's newsletter. In 1977, at age 15, while a high school student, he began publishing Deep Sky Monthly, a journal for amateur astronomers.[3]

Professional career[]

In 1982, Eicher sold Deep Sky Monthly to AstroMedia Corp., the publisher of Astronomy magazine. Astromedia changed the title to Deep Sky Magazine and began publishing it as a quarterly. Eicher joined the staff of Astronomy as an assistant editor and continued to edit Deep Sky magazine until 1992 when the publisher, decided to discontinue the publication.[2]

Following three previous promotions, Eicher became chief editor of Astronomy magazine in 2002.

Eicher is well known as a keen observer of the sky, a visual observer and sketcher of deep-sky objects as seen through telescopes. He has written seven books on astronomical observing, including The Universe from Your Backyard (Cambridge University Press), Deep-Sky Observing with Small Telescopes (Enslow), and Stars and Galaxies (Kalmbach Books).

Eicher has written or edited hundreds of articles[1] on astronomy. In addition to Astronomy, Eicher has written for USA Today, Civil War Times Illustrated, North and South, The Writer, Odyssey, Telescope Making, and Sky & Telescope magazines, and been quoted in TIME and Newsweek.[3]

In 1990, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet, 3617 Eicher, for Eicher in recognition of his service to astronomy.

Promotion of Astronomy[]

Eicher has appeared on CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, WGN radio, National Public Radio, MSNBC, CNBC, and other media outlets to promote the science and hobby of astronomy.[4] He greatly enjoys spreading interest in astronomy among readers of the magazine and astronomy enthusiasts and has led expeditions to see eclipses and other sky phenomena to the Caribbean Sea, Egypt, England, the Galapagos Islands, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, and Turkey.

Civil War History[]

Eicher has written eight books on the subject, including Dixie Betrayed (Little, Brown), The Longest Night (Simon and Schuster), Civil War High Commands (Stanford Univ. Press), and The Civil War in Books (Univ. of Illinois Press).[2]

Current projects[]

Eicher is deeply interested in mineralogy, meteorites, and mineral collecting, and is currently working on a major educational website project related to minerals. He is also serving as editor of a special interest publication on Civil War era trains, to be published by Trains magazine in 2011.


  • 50 Greatest Mysteries of the Universe (Kalmbach, 2007)
  • Dixie Betrayed: How the Confederacy Really Lost the Civil War (Little Brown, 2006)
  • Beginner’s Guide to Astronomy (Kalmbach, 2003)
  • Gettysburg Battlefield: The Definitive Photographic History (Chronicle Books, 2003)
  • The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War (Simon and Schuster, 2001)
  • Civil War High Commands (coauthor, with John H. Eicher, Stanford University Press, 2001)
  • Mystic Chords of Memory: Civil War Battlefields and Historic Sites Recaptured (Louisiana State University Press, 1998)
  • Robert E. Lee: A Life Portrait (Taylor, 1997)
  • The Civil War in Books: An Analytical Bibliography (University of Illinois Press, 1997)
  • Civil War Battlefields: A Touring Guide (Taylor, 1995)
  • Beginner’s Guide to Amateur Astronomy (Kalmbach, 1993)
  • The New Cosmos: The Astronomy of Our Galaxy and Beyond (editor, Kalmbach, 1992)
  • Galaxies and the Universe: An Observing Guide from Deep Sky Magazine (editor and coauthor, Kalmbach, 1992)
  • Stars and Galaxies: Astronomy’s Guide to Observing the Cosmos (editor and coauthor, Kalmbach, 1992)
  • Beyond the Solar System: 100 Best Deep-Sky Objects for Amateur Astronomers (Kalmbach, 1992)
  • Civil War Journeys calendar (Tide-mark, 1990–2000)
  • Deep Sky Observing with Small Telescopes (Enslow, 1989)
  • The Universe from Your Backyard (Cambridge University Press, 1988)


  1. May, Hal, ed.: Contemporary Authors, vol. 113, page 141, Gale Research Co., Detroit, Michigan, 1985;
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 - David J. Eicher, Editor
  3. 3.0 3.1 May, Hal, ed.: Contemporary Authors, vol. 113, page 141, Gale Research Co., Detroit, Michigan, 1985;
  4. CNN Headine News, September 8, 2004, August 31, 2004, June 8, 2004, May 14, 2004, March 15, 2004, January 14, 2004, November 7, 2003, and August 26, 2003; Next@CNN, July 6, 2003; CNN, August 27, 2003; CNN Saturday, August 23, 2003; CNN International, March 4, 2003; Fox News Channel, May 11, 2004; National Public Radio Morning Edition June 8, 2004; WGN Radio Steve and Johnnie Show July 6, 2004; WGN Radio Nick D and Garry Lee Show June 25, 2004; WGN Milt Rosenberg Show September 27, 2002.