Gary Fujihara of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy will talk about “Meteoritics: The science of rocks from space” at 7 p.m. Friday in the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center planetarium.
Fujihara will take the audience on a brief history of man and meteorite, separating fact from myth, leading to the current model of meteoritics.
Meteorites are rocks that dropped from space, surviving their fiery deliverance onto the surface of planet Earth.
Unlike the rocks found on the crust of Earth however, many of these denizens of space remained pristine and preserved much in the state they began, accreting out of the solar nebula 4.56 billion years ago. This allows scientists to extract clues from the stones’ mineralogical and chemical makeup, and help to establish theories on the formation and evolution of our solar system.
Most meteorites originate from the asteroid belt, a region of the solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and a family of meteorites is thought to have come from a specific one, Asteroid 4 Vesta.
A small minority of meteorites hail from the moon and the Red Planet.
How do we know their origins and are there other parent bodies of meteorites? What are meteor showers and do they produce meteorites? Where are most meteorites found? Have meteorites ever hit something or someone? What kinds of meteorites are there and what do they look like? How do you know if you found a meteorite and what do to authenticate it?
Join Fujihara as he helps shed light on these questions.
Fujihara was born in Honolulu, and has been a resident of Hilo since 1980, with a background in graphic arts, music and computer software engineering. He leads the Office of Science Education and Public Outreach at UH Institute for Astronomy.
While he was a telescope operator at Subaru in 2002, he founded Astro Day, a nationally recognized and award-winning annual event that attracts more than 15,000 people every year in Hilo. He has been a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar system ambassador since 2004, and is a member of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Astronomical League and the International Dark Sky.
The program will be hosted by Chris Phillips, who will provide observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawaii, pointing out prominent constellations and stars that can be seen this time of year.
Admission is $10.