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Falling Stars: A Guide to Meteors and Meteorites (Astronomy) Paperback – June 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Traveling at 44 miles per second, ranging in size from dust particle to fist-sized chunks, burning up 50 to 75 miles above the earth and lasting half a second, meteors are fast, hot and out of control. Reynolds, executive director of Oakland, California's Chabot Observatory and Science Center, relays to non-scientists know-how for meteor watching (equipment includes lawn chair, bug repellant, binoculars), recording data, photographing meteors, the meteorological calendar, etc. 54 b&w photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Mike D. Reynolds is an astronomy professor and executive director emeritus of the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California. He is the author of numerous scientific publications, as well as the book Falling Stars (0-8117-2755-6). He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a member of the American Astronomical Society, the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Astronomy
  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811727556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811727556
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,665,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Cox VINE VOICE on August 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
Most of us have looked up at the night sky and seen what is commonly called a falling or shooting star. These momentary streaks occur when meteors, objects ranging from the size of dust particles to fist-size masses, enter the earth's atmosphere and are heated to incandescence. Few of these objects survive their encounter with our atmosphere.

What we see on earth is a streak of light that lasts about a half second on average -- generally speaking, the larger the material that enters the atmosphere, the brighter the meteor. Brighter meteors will occasionally leave a smoke trail in their path lasting a few seconds; trails produced by very bright meteors, referred to as fireballs, may last minutes. Fireballs that appear to break up, or produce sound, are called bolides.

One of the most prolific meteor showers known as the Perseids occurs in August. The Perseids are so called because the point they appear to come from lies in the constellation Perseus. Meteor showers occur when Earth moves through a meteor stream. The stream in this case is called the Perseid cloud and it stretches along the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the greatest activity between August 8 and 14, peaking about August 12. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. To experience the shower in its full, one should observe in the dark of a clear moonless night, from a point far outside any large cities, where stars are not dimmed by light pollution-such as Cherry Springs state park.

If you are looking for a good introduction to the wonderful world of meteors and meteorite collecting, check out Falling Stars, A Guide to Meteors & Meteorites by Mike D. Reynolds.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on August 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Falling Stars: A Guide to Meteors and Meteorites is just that, a short introduction to the wonderful world of meteors and meteorite collecting. There are a number of good books out there on this subject, but this one is a handy quick reference guide for novice collectors and those interested in learning a little about the origins of these fascinating pieces of rock and metal from space. It gives a brief overview of meteors and comets, descriptions of the major meteor showers, major impact craters, and famous meterorite falls, as well as a breakdown of the various types of meteorites and tektites. It doesn't go into great detail on, say, the difference between an octahedrite, hexahedrite, and ataxite nickel-iron meteorite for example, but it does provide some sound info for the beginner.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Allen L. Yu on September 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is not thick enough to discourage meteorite-wannabes to finally finish it front to cover. Through its few pages, of course one cannot expect a detailed description for every topic in meteoritics, but in some sense contains very useful information not usually found in other books. A list of useful meteorite dealers presented, a guide-list price for every popular meteorites per gram, this alone aided me in my decision making whether a meteorite posted in the web is overpriced or not. Useful to start with, but could have been written more lengthly as I feel the author has this "feel" of what a new collector would be.
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