On Monday, my dad and I will fly to Tucson for the annual Gem and Mineral Show, the worldwide mecca for meteorite and mineral collectors. I’ll write two stories for the magazine from the show: a summary of the state of meteorite collecting and dealing for an upcoming issue, as well as an observing feature based on nights of viewing at Rancho Hidalgo, where Astronomy magazine has its observatory. I also will submit daily reports from the gem show, including videos shot with some of the leading meteorite dealers to show you some of their current stock. I’ll visit with Geoff Notkin and Steve Arnold who operate Aerolite Meteorites in Tucson. You may know them better as the Science Channel’s Meteorite Men, a beautifully produced and entertaining show I hope you enjoy as much as I do. I’ll also visit with Anne Black of Impactika Meteorites, Luc Labenne of Labenne Meteorites, Michael Farmer of Meteoritehunter.com/Michael Farmer Meteorites, and others. Stay tuned for “live” reports via Facebook, Twitter (@AstronomyMag), and MySpace from the show. I’ll not only check out meteorites, but also minerals, as I love to collect and study them, too. They represent the chemistry and crystallization not only of Earth minerals, but perhaps of other planets spread out there, as well. (Chemistry and physics are pretty consistent throughout the universe, as far as we can observe, ya know.) Through it all, I’ll have an expert with me: Although he became an organic chemist, my dad taught mineralogy while he was at Purdue prior to his days on the Manhattan Project in New York. So stay tuned for updates from the gem show next week and some blogs from our observatory at Rancho Hidalgo next weekend, where we hope clear skies will grace us when we visit Gene Turner, Loy Guzman, and the whole gang near Animas, New Mexico. Senior Editor Rich Talcott and Associate Editor Liz Kruesi will be on hand at the ranch, too, and I’m sure they’ll share their impressions of big-scope, dark-sky viewing with you.
Falling stars: A preview of the 2010 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, by Mike Reynolds, contributing editor