Yesterday I received my package of meteorites from Mike Gilmer's Galactic Stone & Ironworks. The meteorites showed up in an inconspicuous white envelope, the only hint to the cosmic payload inside was his logo on the envelope! Probably threw the post office workers for a loop seeing a company named Galactic Stone & Ironworks! Each of the meteorite samples comes with a little paper explaining what type of meteorite it is. Also included is a certificate of authenticity, so we can show these are real meteorites. Its kind of cool to realize the "space rocks" you are holding are actually leftovers from the formation of the early solar system and are potentially billions of years old!
The first sample I have is a sample of the Zag meteorite. The Zag meteorite was actually seen as it fell to Earth. It gets its name from the town of Zag, Morocco, where it was found. The Zag meteorite is significant to scientists and astronomers because it is the only meteorite to date shown to contain both salt and water. This meteor is known as a chondrite, due to the small "chondrules" found inside. These chondrules are actually little lumps of material left over from the formation of the solar system. These little clumps formed up and eventually joined with other chondrules to form the structure of these chondrites.
The meteor pieces shown at right are from the Nantan meteorite. The Nantan meteorite also gets its name from the region in which it was discovered. The Nantan meteorite was found in the Guangxi Province of southern China in 1958. What you can't see very well in the picture is the nice glossy finish these meteorites have. They are a shiny silver in color and are composed mostly of iron. These meteors are probably my favorite of the ones I received, as they are very exotic looking!
The meteorites seen at left are chunks of meteorite recovered in northwest Africa and sold in markets to Western collectors. These meteorites have been confirmed to be of meteoric origin, but have not been specifically classified yet. They are thought to be an H-type chondrite, and exhibit strong attraction to magnets.
These meteorites are great samples of ancient remnants of the early solar system. Its great to hold a piece of really ancient history, and know a bit about its past and origins. In the future, if I work with the public in the International Year of Astronomy 2009, these will make great outreach props. I'd like to thank Mike for these meteorites! I will probably be ordering some more in the future!
Now if only they could find pieces of Asteroid 2008 TC3!