The skies were clear for our regular monthly meeting on October 13 and as many set up scopes, they were greeted to a very thin new crescent moon to the southwest in the evening twilight. We adjourned to the meeting room at 7:00 pm where Thomas Baskins presented a program on Meteorite collecting. Thomas has been very active in the club in the past using one of the observatories to house his scopes, writing articles for “The Observer”, and earning several Astro League Awards. He became enamoured over meteorites one night in the western most observatory as he observed a green fireball break up into fragments. Wondering about those fragments started him on his quest to study meteorites. Not just collecting them but studying them microscopically to know their composition and origin. He brought his collection of micrometeorites to show. He also broke down different types, why studying them is important and what has been learned, and the lure of searching for them.
Following his presentation and questions, there were a few stories told about meteorite finds with an emphasis on some of the big finds in Arkansas. The Paragould Meteorite is the third largest meteorite (816 pounds) found in the United States falling at 4:08 am, Feb 17, 1930. Bill Sanders then gave everyone who came, iron meteorite samples from Nantan, China. This fall was observed in 1516 during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Zhengde. “During summertime in May of Jiajing 11th year, stars fell from the northwest direction, five to six folds long, waving like snakes and dragons. They were as bright as lightning and disappeared in seconds”.
Following this Rocky Togni gave a short presentation on how to observe meteors and submit your data. Data Collection forms and meteor shower observing information were handed out. Opportunities emphasized were the Orionid Meteor Shower, October 21, 2007 and the Geminid meteor shower in December.
There were about 20 in attendance with 2 new members, Alan Stroman and Jim Boles, and 2 visitors. Upcoming Outreach events were discussed for several school groups (go to www.caasastro.org for information). Other announcements included a board meeting set for November 11 at 5:00 pm.
About 8:00 pm we adjourned to some beautiful October skies.