An Article In Meteorite Times Magazine
by Jim Tobin


A Busy May

Thought that I would miss the Costa Mesa Gem show this year since we had too many things planned for the weekend. But, I guess there is one advantage to working nights on Fridays. It allowed me to go to the show in Friday morning when it first opened. I had never been able to do that before. Southwest Meteorite Lab was there and a few meteorites were also to be seen in some of the other rooms. But, I ended up staying around the Kilgoreís room and visiting with them. They had brought a nice selection once again. Some very large slices of Seyemchan were beautiful and interesting. The acrylic blocks with Fukang wafers inside are always cool to see. I did not buy a single thing at the show this year. I was saving my money for the following weekend and RTMC and the Astronomy Expo.


RTMC has been a tradition for me for more than twenty years. I have missed a couple times in the two decades. This year Paul and I attended again with our meteorite and tektite goodies to sell. We had our wonderful Wooly Mammoth hair displays too. I brought my Meteor Crater books and Stock Certificates and Study Kits to sell. The Study Kit is sort of in the spirit of Niningerís. It has my old book, an aerial photo of the crater, a reproduction stock certificate, reproductions on nice paper of three of Barringerís old maps and drawings, a piece of iron shale and a capsule with metallic spheroids. It is a cool product. I think I will put it up on the web for sale soon.

We get in about nine in the morning every year. No one is suppose to begin selling till noon. So we wander around for a while looking at what is there. Several meteorite dealers are always there and we join them on just Saturday now at the swap meet. We worked all weekend in years past but found that it was not much fun to sit in the sun all weekend. So we cut back to just Saturday.

I had asked Sharon and Eugene Cisneros of Mineralogical Research to bring up some specimens for me to look through and they did. So I had great fun doing that. We ran into them just by chance at the Costa Mesa show. They are great people we always have a lot of fun talking with them at RTMC. They had a very nice selection of meteorites and fulgurites. I found many specimens in what they did remember to bring for me to go through and I was a happy boy.

Mare Meteoritics with Mike Martinez has been a regular for many years and I always find a few micro mounts or specimens at his booth. And that was the case again. He had quite a few locations I was interested in and I got a few. The Santa Catherina fragment was very nice. But the fragment of Delaware that looks like a molar tooth was one I could not pass up. I am finding myself more interested in falls of late. So the very nice large slice of Git Git was also one I took away from him. There were more but I can save you getting bored by reading a list. Mike is always a fun guy to talk to and we got an opportunity several times during the weekend.

Slice of Santa Catharina Ataxite Found 1875 from Brazil


Slice of Git Git L-6 fell in Nigeria January 9, 1947

It was a full moon almost so we thought the attendance might be down and that is what happened. But the crowd that was there was enough. The scopes that the manufacturers brought were again some of the finest available. We turned in early on Friday night since we had only gotten a few hours sleep Thursday after driving up to Big Bear. But Saturday night we went out and had a good look through a lot of instruments. I did get a couple of nice solar pictures through scopes in the daytime on Saturday. There were no sun spots at all during the weekend but several nice prominences were showing. Hope you enjoy these pictures.


Saturday morning we got up early to get set up in a good spot for the swap meet. Paul took care of selling the tektites and the minerals, wooly mammoth hair and the new screensaver we have created in partnership with Tom Phillips. It is 41 microscopic pictures of meteorites with descriptions in the corner of each frame. It works for any PC and is really cool. If that sounded like and ad you got it correct. We are quite excited about this new product in our line. There was a good amount of interest up at RTMC in it as well.

My table next to Paulís always has the meteorites and the Meteor Crater stuff. We usually only take the meteorites that we have exclusively for sale up there. Paul and I have several meteorites that we have had classified that are single large masses with unique numbers and names. We do well with these since none of the collectors going by our table has usually ever seen them before. One of them NWA 774 is a beautiful H4 chondrite just packed with chondules of various sizes. It is one that looks much better when not polished so all the slices and chunk I cut are lefts at 600 grit from the diamond lap. Many times you can see the ray pattern in pyroxene chondrules with the naked eye on the sliced surfaces

We bring a couple other meteorites and a nice supply of Sikhote Alins. The small SA individuals always sell quite well. They look just like what the general public thinks an iron meteorite should look like. Tektites from our two tubs always do well. People love to rummage through the tubs and find that just perfect example for themselves.

About 2 pm it is time to pack up the tables and head for home. Home being Paulís motor home. Then it is back to fun and having a late lunch. We walked around the telescope field a couple more times and looked at the sun again. But, for me it is always the meteorites that are there that is the best part now. I have scopes and lots of equipment and am planning to get back to photography of the Moon and bright planets again soon. Meteorites however remain my constant fascination and RTMC is one of about three times a years that I have a chance to see a good amount in one place. And I usually get something for my collection at RTMC.

We needed and got some rest over the weekend too. My night shift work schedule has been harder to get used to than I expected. I have the enjoyable chore of adding a few meteorites to my collection database and I have some photography to do on some of the pieces always fun for me. Till next month I hope you are enjoying your space rocks as much as I am.