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Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) [Kindle Edition]

O. Richard Norton , Lawrence Chitwood
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $39.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $39.95
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  • Print ISBN-10: 1848001568
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-1848001565
  • Edition: 1
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Book Description

It is said that astronomy is one of the few remaining fields in which amateurs can make a real contribution to science, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of meteors and meteorites. Although meteors are isolated and unpredictable, it is possible to predict when meteor showers - usually associated with old comets - are due; they last a couple of days, during which many meteors can be observed in a single night. Equipment for watching, counting and even measuring meteors can range from the simplest (a chair) to sophisticated all-sky cameras. What is unique about meteors in astronomical observation is that many survive entry into the Earth's atmosphere and impact the ground - the only easily-analysed extraterrestrial material available to science. What is unique about Richard Norton's book is that it is both a field guide to observing meteors, and also a field guide to locating, preparing and analysing meteorites. In addition to giving the reader information about observing techniques for meteors, this book also provides a fully detailed account of the types of meteorites, how and where to find them, how to prepare and analyse them. It is thus the only complete book on the subject available at present.

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"The average age of most meteorites is 4.6 billion years. … This groundbreaking book … is the most concise guide to date on every aspect of this fascinating field. The authors combine the collecting, study and hunting of meteorites with good advice on equipment and identification techniques. … it is equally suited to beginner and expert with well-illustrated page-by-page descriptions of each meteorite sub-type. … This is an impressive book containing everything you need to know about these remarkable cosmic treasures." (Mark Ford, BBC Sky at Night, September, 2008)

"This practical reference source … goes beyond the well-illustrated guide to help meteorite hunters identify their prize (with detailed color photos), and includes the astronomical context needed to understand meteorites and their Earth-bound predecessors, meteoroids. … A mineral glossary and references (print and online) supplement the text. … Summing Up: Recommended. General audiences and all undergraduate students." (L.R. Johnston, Choice, Vol. 46 (5), January, 2009)

"This is a magnificent book and a must for anyone who is interested in our solar system and its formation. … A wonderful segment is included on what meteorites look like in thin section and it is a glorious world indeed. … If you do, or if you wish to find you own, or if you just wish to learn more about the environment our Earth inhabits, you will want a copy of this outstanding book." (Amazon, November, 2008)

2009 Best Reference Work-

"Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites" by O. Richard Norton and Lawrence A. Chitwood received the Mary B. Ansari Best Reference Work Award.  The book is both a guide to observing meteors and a practical handbook for meteorite hunters.  Abundant information on locating, preparing, and analyzing meteorites is presented.  The work’s comprehensive treatment, fine color illustrations, and accessibility to a wide audience were winning points in the selection committee’s decision.  "Meteorite information has been scattered, hard to find and difficult to interpret – sort of like meteorites themselves," commented committee member Dennis Trombatore.  "The Field Guide is a powerful reference tool. It will inspire, enlighten and inform everyone who uses it.""

From the Back Cover

Imagine the unique experience of being the very first person to hold a newly-found meteorite in your hand – a rock from space, older than Earth!

"Weekend meteorite hunting" with magnets and metal detectors is becoming ever more popular as a pastime, but of course you can’t just walk around and pick up meteorites in the same way that you can pick up seashells on the beach. Those fragments that survived the intense heat of re-entry tend to disguise themselves as natural rocks over time, and it takes a trained eye – along with the information in this book – to recognize them.

Just as amateur astronomers are familiar with the telescopes and accessories needed to study a celestial object, amateur meteoriticists have to use equipment ranging from simple hand lenses to microscopes to study a specimen, to identify its type and origins.

Equipment and techniques are covered in detail here of course, along with a complete and fully illustrated guide to what you might find and where you might find it. In fact, the Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites contains pretty much everything an amateur astronomer – or geologist – needs to know about meteors and meteorites.

Product Details

  • File Size: 9641 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Springer London; 1 edition (May 25, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003RRX2IK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,864 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
I think Norton and Chitwood have done a great piece of work with this guide. It is very readable, but also up-to-date and comprehensive. As a collector, I find it covers the bases thoroughly. The parts describing hunting for meteorites, the tools and techniques used for determining meteorite authenticity, and the anecdotal information on hunters and various finds are a pleasant bonus I was not expecting.

But, for me personally, the biggest surprise was the information in the chapter on thin sections: From Hand Lens to Microscope. This is excellent information for anyone who wants to learn about actually analyzing meteorites. If you want to go beyond basic hunting or collecting, this is the section for you. Furthermore, the authors have representative thin section photographs of the major meteorite classes throughout the other chapters.

I like Springer as a publisher, and I think the Patrick Moore series on Practical Astronomy has been a good thing for amateur astronomy. I have about a dozen of the series titles, but this one -- in my opinion -- is a more thorough treatment of its subject than any of the others.

I also have about a dozen other books on meteorites -- some of them highly specialized (like the Color Atlas of Meteorites in Thin Section). As I'm learning more about meteoritics, I would find it hard to part with any of my books. But if I were forced to keep just one of them, this would be the one.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding overview of meteors and meteorites November 2, 2008
This is a magnificent book and a must for anyone who is interested in our solar system and its formation. How do you study something that took place 4.6 billion years ago? You look at the unaltered debris that is left over from that period and fortunately for science that debris can be found on Earth in the form of meteorites. Once they are cut open, their extraterrestrial origins are betrayed and they become a history lesson to the scientists who study them. That's why this book is so important - it tells you what to look for, as most meteorites are found by amateurs - and it may as well be you. This is one of the very few areas where a non-scientist can make a real contribution to the scientific understanding of our planet's origins.

The book itself is divided into three parts. The first part is devoted to all the debris floating around the solar system, from interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), to asteroids, to meteoroids which become meteorites once they land on Earth. Meteors are the luminous phenomenon we have all witnessed in the night sky. Next comes the second and main part of the book with its description of the different classes and subclasses of meteorites, replete with color photos of whole specimens, slices, and thin sections. Every category of meteorites tells a different story that relates to the particulars of its formation. While most meteorites are of asteroidal origin, some have come from the Moon and Mars. These latter can send the heart racing if you are lucky enough to stumble upon one.

The final part of the book is about how to find meteorites and `what next?' if you think you have indeed stumbled upon one. Firstly, don't worry as they are neither hot to the touch nor are they radioactive.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Guide ro Meteors and Meteorites August 26, 2008
Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) This book should be on every meteorite lovers bookshelf. The photos are detailed and of excellent quality.The text is understandable by professionals and amateurs alike. I unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone interested in these visitors from outer space.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars meterorites November 27, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a comprehensve guide of the origin and classification of meterorites. As a collector, it's an invaluable resource to assess finds and purchased meterorites. Outstanding resource.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide. December 21, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Best technical guide I've seen up until now. The photos are sharp and clear. Only drawback is it may be a little too advanced for a novice meteorite hunter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guidebook! June 17, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I gave this book a five star rating because it answered all the technical questions I
had concerning meteorite identification and MORE!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heads Up Guys February 22, 2013
Great book! Integral to the book are the color photos. As of 2/2013 the Kindle edition has B&W photos even on your color devices, so if you want the full benefit, you'll need to order the hard copy. Ask me how I know!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great overall look at meteorites January 16, 2009
By adam
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i bought this as a gift to go along with a meteorite and the person has really enjoyed it. it is written well with some good humor among the plethora of information about really covers all the bases and if you are going to only buy one book on this subject, this is probably it
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An interesting and informative book on meteors and Meteorites
Published 2 months ago by R. Tulley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A lot of great info and history.
Published 3 months ago by P. Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious Meteorite Search & Science
A lot of detail here, some not specifically related to meteorites, but excellent scientific background. Read more
Published 4 months ago by California Doug
5.0 out of 5 stars My go-to guide
Great intro guide about meteorites and for digging deeper. Useful illustrations/tables/charts and choice photos. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mark Bowling
4.0 out of 5 stars Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites
A good book for the anyone wanting a complete gude to meteorite hunting.
This book has excellent figures and pictures.
Published 18 months ago by Edward
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly detailed
Fascinating! Describes how they were possibly developed and shaped. What all they may have experienced as they traveled across the universe, and smashed onto our planet.
Published 18 months ago by Beverly A. Bouldin
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but not what I had hoped for!
If you require info that will explain absolutely everything you want to know about Meteors and Meteorites then this is the book to buy. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Uwe Naeger
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear definitive authoritative
This book could easily be the text for a university level course on meteoritical studies, and the photos are amazingly helpful. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Deck Zero
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book on Meteors
Its a great eye opener for learning about Meteors and Meteorites...Enjoy reading it a lot...If you want to learn a lot about Meteors this is a must read...
Published 21 months ago by Fly_Fisherman
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding resource
One of my new favorite meteorite books. Up to date, full color, packed with information, and written by one of America's foremost experts. Must-have.
Published 23 months ago by Garret Romaine
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