An Article In Meteorite Times Magazine
by Jim Tobin

 

Even though May is a very busy meteorite month for Paul and I. I had a hard time thinking of a topic to write about. It has been awhile since I did an article on the various activities that make May quite a month for the collector in Southern California. So that is what you get this month.

Comet Hyakutake

Usually we would attend the West Coast Gem and Mineral Show in Costa Mesa. Looks like this year we will miss it. We are headed out to the desert to take some pictures of the two comets that are visible right now. During the day we might get in some meteorite hunting if it is not quite as hot as the surface of the sun out there. The gem show is the weekend of the 14-16. For those of you that are close enough to attend the show you will find a few dealers with meteorites. Southwest Meteorite Lab will be there with a great supply of beautiful specimens. Alain Carion is usually one of the dealers at this show as well. It will be hard to miss it but, we donít get a lot of opportunities anymore to go out and do astronomy. And not near enough chances to hunt meteorites. We will be sure to put some pictures of the comets up next month if we get any good shots.

Hale-Bopp

Memorial Day weekend always finds us up at Big Bear selling meteorites and tektites at RTMC. We will once again be there this year sitting under our canopy telling and retelling the story of tektites to all who are interested. We will have a lot of meteorites with us too I think. There are always a few other dealers there. But it is really a great place to get all that astronomy stuff you have been looking for. And the swap meet on Saturday morning often has some real bargains.

This year I hope to get up and look around a little more than the last couple years. I barely got out of my chair to even see what meteorites were being offered by the other dealers. Mare Meteorites and Mineralogical Research are both there every year to help us satisfy the cravings of all space rock collectors.

We spend a good amount of time during the month getting ready for RTMV by making up specimens and cutting and mounting. Printed materials we give away with the tektites and meteorites have to made. So even as I am writing this I have the computer working in the background on things related to the trip.

If you are looking for woolly mammoth hair display items we have them. It is the only place we have ever sold them. I am just fascinated by the stuff. Every time I get the chance it seems that I buy another hank of the hair for myself. Just the idea of having 10,000 to 13,000 year old hair from a long extinct animal is something I can not get over. It is really neat to examine under the microscope also. It is never clean when you buy it so there are bits of vegetable matter and other items embedded in the mass. Whatever the animal ran or walked through that got caught in its fur is still there. We of course include the same extra items in our displays if they make into the frames. I keep looking for seeds and insects that can be identified. The search has not been very fruitful as yet but you never know what you May find as you tweeze through the fibers.

I always make a few changes and additions to my CD and have it for sell. I am at version 5 now, and have gone over 250 photos. I seem to keep acquiring a few more bits of information about the history of Meteor Crater each year.

We are always thinking of new ways to get people interested in tektites and of course meteorites. I have a few new things to try out up in the mountains this time. RTMC is sort of our proving ground for what will create interest and what will not. We learn new thing about what gets peopleís notice and what does not. Often it is that first impression that will draw someone to the table and they hear the story of tektites and become interested in collecting. We see people that have bought from us in the past and they often have an increasing interest year by year. As long as tektites remain somewhat enigmatic the telling of their story will remain exciting for us. I enjoy the fact that not everything about their formation is totally understood.

Guess I had better get back to preparing for the comet photo trip and printing up material for RTMC. Have a great month.