Blogs & Videos: Meteorites

Successful Presolar Grains Workshop held in Chicago

From January 25-27, 2013 the Annual Presolar Grains Workshop was held in Chicago. At this informal gathering cosmochemists and astrophysicists met and talked about how the study of presolar grains can help improve our understanding of how stars work. The successful meeting was held with talks at the University of Chicago, a dinner at the Field Museum and tours through the labs and collection of the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies. Below are some photos of the reception night at the University of Chicago with a tour of the new instrument CHILI (Chicago Instrument for Laser Ionization) and the appropriately chosen accompanying chili tasting competition.

Science paper: The Sutter's Mill Meteorite

Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Dr. Philipp R. Heck is co-author on a paper in the journal Science on the first results of the rare meteorite, Sutter’s Mill. On April 22 a very fast-moving fireball was observed over large parts of California and Nevada. Equivalent to four kilotons of TNT, the fireball was photographed, and recorded by video and by weather Doppler-radars. The photographs and videos helped to trace back its orbit to the far reaches of the outer part of the asteroid belt. The Sutter’s Mill meteorite was scrutinized by almost the entire arsenal of observational and analytical state-of-the-art tools available to scientists today.

Video: We Are All Stardust

When a meteor hits the earth, there is the possibility that it brings something very rare along with it:  cosmic stardust older than our Solar System.   Dr. Philipp Heck uses a combination of astronomy, geosciences and chemistry, to hunt for these presolar grains, which offer glimpses into our galaxy's past.  Read more about Philipp's research and the Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies.

"Battle Mountain" Meteorite Donated

On September 24, Collections & Research Committee Member and private meteorite collector Terry Boudreaux donated and loaned specimens of a freshly fallen meteorite to the Museum’s Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies. The meteorite produced a fireball associated with a sonic boom before it hit the ground near Battle Mountain, NV on August 23. The meteorite is tentatively classified as an ordinary chondrite of type L6. 

Rare Meteorite from California Fireball to be Donated to The Field Museum

The Field Museum will receive a high-quality meteorite from a fireball that exploded over California and Nevada last month. The 4.6-billion-year-old meteorite, donated by private collector Terry Boudreaux, is extremely rare and valuable to science. It weighs about one-third of an ounce (10 grams) and has been tentatively classified as carbonaceous chondrite.

Study on sulfur-rich comet dust published

Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Philipp Heck and co-authors from the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry in Germany had their paper on the first isotopic analysis of sulfur-rich comet dust published in the April issue of the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science. The dust was captured during a flyby of Comet Wild 2 by NASA’s Stardust Mission and returned to Earth.

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