Member Article - November 2008

The full version of this article is published in the November 2008 issue of METEORITE! magazine.

Review of: "Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites" by O. Richard Norton and Lawrence A. Chitwood, 2008

Anita Westlake
Article by Anita Westlake
Two thumbprints (regmaglyphs) way up for this beautiful new book! As a relative new-comer in the field of meteoritics, I found this publication easy to read, rife with color photographs and full of information I had either missed, or didn't understand in previous publications.

Cover: Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites
Cover: Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites
The book is divided into three parts: Ancient Fragments of the Solar System, The Family of Meteorites, and Collecting and Analyzing Meteorites. Though there is a certain logical order in these parts, readers are certainly welcome to dip in and sample a chapter out of order as their interests lead them. (One can't help but skip right to the excellent photographs in the middle section. Each photo is richly described in a detailed sidebar, enabling the reader to understand the picture without searching the text for clues.) Once the appetite has been sufficiently whetted, a more studious read and reflection is in order.

The section on Collecting and Analyzing Meteorites was especially helpful to me. I was finally able to get a grip on the differences between the various classifications. The fact that I might someday actually determine for myself the classification of a meteorite was awe-inspiring! The book left me feeling a lot more knowledgeable than when I started which was a refreshing change from other books on the subject.

The "Field Guide" is obviously a labor of love as people from around the world contributed photos from specimens in their own collections. It is a shame that co-author Lawrence Chitwood did not live long enough to hear and see the enthusiastic reactions from loyal meteorite fans. One can only hope he is looking down on us from a NEO (Near Earth Object) and lighting up space with an appreciative smile.

Anita Westlake was the president of the Meteorite Association of Georgia from 7/2007 through 7/2011.

Please feel free to Contact the Meteorite Association of Georgia with any comments!

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