• MHCC Planetarium Preview: Rocks from Space: Meteors, Meteorites and Impacts...Oh My!

    Meteorites are fascinating objects that fall out of the sky more often than people think they do. Most meteorites are small, but some have been large enough to cause catastrophic damage – like the one that killed off the dinosaurs. However, all meteorites are interesting.

    Meteorites are pieces of asteroids whose orbits led them crashing into our atmosphere. From Earth, they appear as fireballs, or as really bright meteors traveling across the sky. Once they enter Earth’s atmosphere, they’re known as meteors; however, when they crash onto Earth, they’re called meteorites. Meteorites have been collected for hundreds of years, but it's only been in the past few decades that scientists have studied them seriously.

    MHCC Planetarium Director Pat Hanrahan will discuss meteors and meteorites, including how they form and where they come from, and he’ll present some better-known meteorites and the impacts they left behind. Hanrahan will also show part of his own collection of meteorites. Catch “Rocks from Space: Meteors, Meteorites and Impacts...Oh My!” on Tuesday, Feb. 6, and Friday, Feb. 9, with shows at 6 and 7:15 p.m. each day.

    Visitors are encouraged to ask questions during each 45-minute live program. Children are welcome to attend. The Planetarium is wheelchair accessible. Admission for the general public is $5, and $2 for children (17 and younger) and for MHCC students (identification required). Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

    Part of the private meteorite collection displayed during the February planetarium shows at MHCC. On the left, a meteorite found in the Sahara Desert (NWA 869). This primitive meteorite contains ancient material from an asteroid belt. On the right, a cross-section of a stony iron meteorite with a matrix of rock crystals embedded within its shiny, metal structure.