Meteorites and Telescopes

If you go back through this feature’s back issues you will see that Paul and I have linked telescopes and meteorites together in many and interesting ways for years.
We were regular sellers at RTMC the premiere amateur astronomy gathering in So Cal. We always have one with us for after meteorite hunting star gazing. So mix an opportunity to see telescopes, Geoff Nokin and the Aerolite Meteorite team in our area and we are there.

Great weather, and easy traffic made for a nice two hour drive putting my wife and I down at Oceanside California for the 8th Annual Southern California Astronomy Exposition. Geoff was to speak to the gathered crowd at 4 pm but we wanted to get there way before that to visit with him if we could and to look around at the booths of telescope and imaging equipment. It was also an opportunity to get a copy of Geoff’s new book, a wonderful biography of his life with rock and roll and rocks from space. Paul and Janice were going down separately and we would meet up with them there.

Paul and Janice (partly hidden) talking to the Aerolite Meteorite team while Geoff poses for a photo with a fan.

When we arrived Geoff was signing autographs and posing for pictures with a troop of scouts. He was clearly having fun already. We got a chance after a while to talk for a couple minutes and greet his team. Sara found a Sikhote Alin pendant that she liked and I fell in love with the Admire acrylic displays and got one of those. Paul like them too and got one. They will go so well with the Brenham ones we got a few years ago. A perfect way to display the Kansas pallasites side by side.

The test of strength for many a man and boy that day was the brief lifting of this nicely sculpted iron weighing in at over 40 kilos.

What a beautiful Fukang pallasite slice, I had to get a picture with some light behind it.

As much as I would like to stand there and talk to Geoff for a long time he is out to do business so we let him work. At that point it was just fun to stand back and hear the story of meteorites told repeatedly to the eager listeners by one of the world’s master meteorite story tellers. I remember sitting in the sun at RTMC and telling the story of tektites to hundreds of eager knowledge seekers over the years and so does Paul. I think we both got a kick out of seeing Geoff at work.

I love everything about etched irons, but this one happens to be cut with the orientation to the internal structure that I love most. I just find the triangle Widmanstatten pattern the coolest.

Some of the trays and cases of meteorites that were brought for the space rock fans to enjoy and buy from.

We had walked around the parking area where the booths were set up and I had taken some photos. It was just enough cloudy to prevent the use of the solar filtered telescopes. They are always one of my favorite scopes to look through. I try to sneak a couple photos afocally with my camera if there are any cool prominences showing on the Sun.

Early on I had been introduced to David Ho of Hotech who is a friendly enthusiastic gentleman. He is the creator of the really neat combination laser pointer, red flashlight and white light unit that we saw Geoff use in the Meteorite Men TV series. Geoff has carried and enjoyed the product for quite a while. I was given a sample to test and the following is the product review. I do not do these or book reviews anymore except on rare occasions. This is a very cool device. Its sturdy, powerful, designed to carry and use easily. For those of us who have been stuck in the desert and who go to places out of touch with the rest of the world emergency signalling tools are a necessary requirement. I have a antique brass magnetic compass and an antique British police whistle attached to my hunting backpack whenever we go out. Using either its clip on holder or belt looped plushy fabric case David’s green laser and flashlight combo makes a great addition to the hunting kit. Its in mine from now on. You just never know when something bad might happen and as a scout “Be Prepared” is always in the back of my mind. The Astro Aimer as it is called is threaded on the side so it can be attached to a photographic tripod or mounted on a telescope. It also comes with a lanyard so you can wear it. One of my all time biggest problems as an amateur astronomer has always been finding my red light, night-vision protecting flashlight. And then there are the times when you go inside your blacked out vehicle and need a white light to find something in there. So you have to struggle with finding the regular flashlight you did not think you would need. Now with the advent of green laser pointing aids to show people where the telescope is directed or where an object is in the sky you need to carry one of those around with you too. HoTech has put all of this in one package that is really nice. The powerful little green laser is on a timer so it turns off automatically after 50 seconds and you don’t have to hold a button down after you turn it on. The red LED has three brightness settings and the white LED is true white and bright enough for many normal tasks. Hotechs’s contact information follows for anyone wanting more information.

Astro Aimer G3 with belt clip, lanyard, and fabric case. As the picture shows you can find out everything you need to know at HoTechUSA.com

Four o’clock came around and chairs were set up in one of the areas that only moments before had been a wandering zone in the center of surrounding booths. Geoff took the stage and gave a great presentation full of facts and information, readings from his new book and humorous tells of his meteorite hunting. He took some questions from the audience which were answered with more wonderful stories of adventures chasing extraterrestrial treasure. We had our drive back to look forward to and wanted to get some dinner so not too long after he finished his talk we made our way over so say goodbye. We had hoped that Geoff’s schedule would allow him to dine with us but alas that was not to be. So the four of us headed off to get something to eat and have some more fun. What a great day spent with friends. Oh, and the meteorites, and scopes were pretty nice too.

Just one more parting shot of Geoff as he answers the question from a very well spoken young man in the audience.

Post script. The impact melt breccia that I found at Tucson this past February has received a name (NWA 7347) and is in the system waiting approval by the Nomenclature Committee.

Until next month enjoy, Jim

About the Author

James Tobin
The Meteorite Exchange, Inc. was born in 1996 with meteorite.com and Meteorite Times Magazine in 2002. Still enthusiastic about meteorites and all things related to them, we hunt, collect, cut and prepare specimens. We travel to gem shows and enjoy meteorites as much now as in the beginning. Please feel free to share any comments you have on this or any of our other sites.
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