Summertime Funtime

North American Nebula

Well summer is nearly over as I write this. It has been a fun season this year. Got in a couple trip to the desert for astrophotography. Got some ceramic pieces made and with both those interests tried new equipment and techniques. I try to never stop learning new things. This article has frankly been a problem. I have been so busy building Canon camera coolers and electronic focuser attachments and other things for my star imaging that I have only been doing routine work with meteorites. Normal cleaning and cutting and diamond lapping. I have not been cutting into anything knew to find exciting unseen treasures. But I am waiting to hear back any time about three very cool stones that are out for classification. I admit to being like a little kid when it comes to waiting for laboratory work. I treat it like Christmas Day. I know there is a big reveal in the future when the results come back and it will either validate the personal guesses I have made
about the stones or surprise me in a wonderful way perhaps.

I found a few months ago a very friable stone while cutting some mixed up boxes of NWA material. It had a thick layer on the outside that was very crumbly bu,t it was full of wonderful chondrules some of which were quite large. I had to cut several slices to get into the heart of the stone and away from the outside that was falling apart. Here is one of the outer slices that was starting to get better. It is one of the stone I am waiting to hear the results on.

I usually take a thin slice from the stones as I am making the samples to send off for classification. The thin slice goes to my lab in the garage and becomes a thin section which I examine while waiting on the real results. I have never sent just anything off for classification. It has always been the more special stones. But in the future I may begin sending off some the more ordinary material if labs will accept it.

I have described the process of making the thin sections in the past. It is for me a hand made deal. I use a powered diamond lap for the first part but after the material is starting to get thin I go to all by hand grinding. It takes a while and there are a lot of stops to place the slide in my polarized light viewer. But eventually I get to somewhere very close to 30 microns. I made a few thin sections this summer. They will find their way to the camera in the future to get imaged.

I just love all kinds of meteorites but have to admit I have a real soft spot for chondrule rich type 3 and 4 ordinary chondrites. I am just fascinated by the way they look as thin sections in polarized light under a microscope. When I was young I got involved in commercial macro photography. I did work for a group of local commercial artists and advertising firms shooting all their small products for print ads. I was struggling as a young man on my own to make ends meet and the extra money was really welcome. It was great training and today I still love getting in super close on my meteorites and finding out what is there to capture photographically.

Seems like all my hobbies and interests find their way back to meteorites sooner or later. My ceramic art is made with meteorite dust mixed into the clay. I am playing currently with some exciting new projects that I hope will actually resemble meteorite slices when the mosaic tiles are done. My gold and silver jewelry work has been including more pieces of meteorite as time goes on.

This is the third level of experimentation for my artistic vision of meteorites in clay. I have made thousands of tiny artificial chondrules with about ten different mixtures and colors. I am about ready to try a real mosaic.

So does all this mean that I am obsessed with meteorites and need to find a program. Well maybe. But as far as I no there is no program like MA (meteorites anonymous). Maybe there should be.

If things go as currently planned I will get some meteorite hunting in later in the year. Has been a few months since I did any of that. So far retirement has been anything but rest for me. I have been doing stuff everyday that I had no time for while I was working and that for me is the best. I can spend a few days on each thing I love, and mix meteorites into most of them and work on astro images at night.

There is a Gold Basin Anniversary celebration coming up and going is on my short list of things I want to do. I have been thinking it is pretty dark out there I could take along some stuff and maybe catch some astrophotos at night out there. That is another mix I have not done for a while. Star images from a strewnfield is sounding cooler every time I think about it. If I don’t find any meteorites during the day there is always the chance I will get some good images at night.

I guess at some point I will have to reign in these hobbies and just pick a couple, but for right now I am enjoying being all over the place with them. They all stay fresh since I don’t do any of them all the time.

I know there was not a lot of substance in this article. Summer just does not seem like the time to be really serious and scholarly. So I apologize for the glimpse into my daily retirement life. Promise the next article will have depth and information.

But now it is time to go and empty the kiln. Bye

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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