Unlocking the solar system’s past

There’s a treasure trove locked inside meteorites, rare particles older than Earth.

Online extra: Stardust’s surprise

NASA’s mission to retrieve comet dust found material from the wrong side of the solar system.

Between a rock and a gas giant

Mars and Jupiter bracket a belt of mini-planets where action is the name of the game.

Earth under fire

Our planet’s surface is riddled with craters formed by high-speed cosmic impacts.

Blast from the past

Fifty thousand years ago, a multimegaton impact gouged out Arizona’s Meteor Crater.

Online extra: Causes of Earth’s mass extinctions

The Meteor Crater impact event killed off most plant and animal life in the near vicinity, but it was nothing compared to our planet’s mass extinctions.

Classic rock

Stone meteorites are the most common in space, but they’re tough to find on Earth.

The great interplanetary rock swap

Some meteorites come from the Moon, others from Mars. Here’s how they arrive.

Online extra: Park Forest: a modern L’Aigle

The 2003 shower of meteorites near Chicago was a replay of the event that gave birth to meteorite science.

Heavy metal

Iron meteorites make up less than 10 percent of space rocks but are easy to identify on Earth.

How to start your meteorite collection

Here’s everything you need to start acquiring space rocks.

Online extra: Bidding for meteorites on eBay

A meteorite specialist finds eBay to be a useful space-rock resource.

Rock-metal fusion

The rarest class of meteorites, stony-irons, also is the most beautiful.

Party with the Perseids!

The Perseid meteor shower is one of amateur astronomy’s great yearly social events.

Name that rock

Scientists classify meteorites by what they’re made of and where they come from.

Rock star

Meteorite dealer Robert Haag travels the world in search of space rocks.

August 2006 book reviews

Discover this month’s offerings of astronomy titles.


This month in Astronomy
Beautiful universe
Bob Berman’s strange universe
Glenn Chaple’s observing basics
Phil Harrington’s binocular universe

My favorite month

The sky this month
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Book reviews

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