These celestial wonders have traveled across the vast expanse of space to find a terrestrial home right here at Branched Oak Observatory. When you visit our Kunkel Family Multipurpose Center, you will not only have a chance to see, but also hold, a piece of solar system history.
Meteors, often referred to as “shooting stars” or “falling stars,” are small celestial bodies that enter Earth’s atmosphere, producing a luminous trail as they burn up due to friction and interaction with air molecules. Most meteors completely vaporize in the atmosphere, but if these visitors survive the fiery journey and land on Earth, they become known as “meteorites.”
Meteoroids, the name of the material while still in space, are fragments of asteroid collisions. Since Meteorites are therefore “leftovers” from the formation of the solar system, they are a sought-after and valuable resource for scientists. Our amazing collection showcases the diverse array of meteorites, each telling a unique tale of cosmic origins.
Iron meteorites, composed primarily of nickel and iron, reveal the cores of the early solar system’s metal-rich asteroids. Stony meteorites, the most common type, originate from the crust of asteroids, providing a glimpse into the building blocks of terrestrial planets. Lastly, stony-iron meteorites, are a rare fusion of both stony and metallic components, and are evidence of the differentiation of materials within the mantle of asteroids.
Our exhibition invites you to explore the mysteries of the cosmos through these ancient and tangible fragments from space, sparking curiosity and wonder about the origins of our own celestial neighborhood.