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Meet the Staff

Meet the people who bring you each issue of Astronomy magazine
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David J. Eicher

Editor

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.

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LuAnn Williams Belter

Art Director

A native of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, LuAnn's love for graphics began when her father would bring home large, colorful paper pads from the mill where he worked. Hours spent filling those pages ultimately inspired her to pursue a graphic design degree from Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, in 1982.

LuAnn's professional career was launched at Raintree Publishers in Milwaukee, where she designed books and magazines. She also worked in a 14-year partnership at McDill Design in Milwaukee. Leaving to raise her family, she freelanced for 4 years and worked part-time for Kerlin Design. Since joining Kalmbach in 2003, LuAnn has worked on several different titles, including Art Jewelry, Trains, Classic Trains, and Birder's World.

LuAnn lives in a suburb of Milwaukee with her devoted husband Ed, their two wonderful children Tyler and Rachel, and energetic dogs Elvis and Eragon.

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Kathi Kube

Managing Editor

Kathi Kube has been with Kalmbach Publishing Co. since December 2002 and has worked on several titles. Currently, she is managing editor of Astronomy and Discover magazines.

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Richard Talcott

Senior Editor

Senior Editor Richard Talcott brings to the magazine a lifelong interest in the science of astronomy as well as observing the night sky. He graduated from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, in 1976 with a degree in mathematics. After attending graduate school at the Ohio State University, Rich returned to Marietta in the early 1980s as a lecturer in the physics department. He joined the staff of Astronomy in early 1986 and hasn't looked back.

Rich has written more than 100 feature articles on both the science of astronomy and observing the night sky. He also edits the popular “Sky this Month” section at the center of Astronomy and creates most of the magazine’s star charts. In addition, he produces Astronomy’s Deep Space Mysteries wall calendar.

Rich is author of Teach Yourself Visually Astronomy (Wiley Publishing, 2008), an introduction to observing the sky with naked eyes, binoculars, and small telescopes. He also authored, in collaboration with Joel Harris, Chasing the Shadow: An Observer's Guide to Eclipses (Kalmbach Publishing Co., 1994). The July 2010 solar eclipse was the ninth total solar eclipse he has seen.

Rich and his wife, Evelyn, live in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he enjoys playing softball and cheering on his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees.

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Michael E. Bakich

Senior Editor

Michael has been fascinated with the stars all his life. His astronomical journey began when he was in third grade, after his parents bought him a set of constellation flash cards. From that day forward, Michael’s goal was to become an astronomer.

Michael realized that goal in 1975, when he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy from the Ohio State University. Rather than continuing on a research-oriented track, Michael attended Michigan State University, where he received a Master of Arts degree in planetarium education (one of only six such degrees ever awarded) in 1977.

During the past two decades, Michael has worked in seven planetaria and has served as a consultant in the planetarium field. He joined Astronomy as associate editor (and photo editor) in February 2003.

Prior to joining the staff of Astronomy, Michael’s days revolved around serving as a planetarium consultant, lecturing, and writing. Michael has written three books for Cambridge University Press. His first book was The Cambridge Guide to the Constellations. The planets were the focus of his second book, The Cambridge Planetary Handbook. Michael’s third book, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Amateur Astronomy, deals with all aspects of amateur astronomy.

Springer published Michael’s most recent book, 1,001 Celestial Wonders to See Before You Die (New York, 2010, ISBN 978–1–4419–1776–8). It’s part of the publisher’s “Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy” series.

Because of his popular appeal, engaging style, and vast astronomical knowledge, Michael is a much sought after “tour guide” to eclipses, sky events, and historical astronomy sites. Michael has conducted many tours, including two to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico to study the astronomically related ruins of the Mayas, several to space shuttle launches, a cruise to see the 1986 appearance of Halley’s Comet in Tahiti, and total solar eclipse trips in the United States, the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, and Peru. Since joining the staff of Astronomy, Michael has led a group to South Africa to observe the 2004 transit of Venus, and has headed up total eclipse expeditions to Tahiti, Europe, Russia, China, and Easter Island.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys woodworking, science-fiction movies (with particular emphasis on giant monsters such as Godzilla), and book collecting. This last passion has led him on a lengthy search for 19th-century, first-edition astronomy books. Currently, Michael’s collection numbers more than 450 individual 19th-century first editions — one of the largest private collections anywhere.

Michael also enjoys observing celestial objects with a variety of telescopes. He has logged thousands of hours at the eyepiece. Michael lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Holley, who has earned degrees in fine arts and interior design.

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John Wenz

Associate Editor

John comes to us from Popular Mechanics, where he was a news writer for their website. He also has been a freelance journalist for more than a decade, including stories on the websites of Wired, The Atlantic, The Verge, Mental Floss, The Awl, and more. He has a life-long interest in planetary science, space exploration, and SETI. He has a bachelor of arts in English with a writing emphasis from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When not at work, he enjoys hiking, reading comic books, spending time with his fiance Lisa, or playing with his dog, Fermi, or cats, Slimer and Tiger Friend.

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Dave Lee

Copy Editor

Dave Lee, who has worked as a copy editor at Cars.com, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Charlotte Observer, is also a copy editor for Astronomy's sister publication, Discover magazine. He holds bachelor’s degrees in biology and history of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he dropped out of an astronomy class after the first day. (He calls it a freshman mistake.) He enjoys video games, consumer technology and all things Doctor Who.

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Elisa Neckar

Copy Editor

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Nicole Kiefert

Editorial Assistant

Nicole is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She graduated in 2015 with a degree in English and a minor in journalism. Though her only previous background in astronomy is star gazing in her backyard, she is excited to learn all she can about the universe beyond. When she's not busy working, she can be found reading, painting, or with her dog, Saffron. 

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Kelly Katlaps

Senior Graphic Designer

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Roen Kelly

Illustrator

Roen Kelly is responsible for many of the illustrations in Astronomy magazine. She is a staff illustrator at Kalmbach Publishing Co. Her illustrations are reproduced all over the world in magazines, books, museum displays, TV and video projects.

At the University of Toronto, Roen Kelly trained to become a scientific illustrator in a specialized program called Biomedical Communications. Prior to this she earned at BFA from University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. After graduation she illustrated a comprehensive Kinesiology book with over four hundred illustrations. The book is a best selling medical textbook. Roen Kelly also worked at the Medical College of Wisconsin creating medical illustrations for cutting-edge research in molecular genetics and ophthalmology.

Currently she lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a 1920s bungalow with her husband Jim Kelly.

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