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Cosmic Musings Presentation - Meteorites & Asteroids by Dr. Alan Rubin
October 22nd, 2018 7:30pm
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COSMIC MUSINGS presented by United Airlines



There are about 67,000 meteorites in the world's collections. A few hundred are from the Moon and Mars; the remainder are from asteroids. Most meteorites are from asteroids that never melted and thus retained their original bulk chemical compositions; these are the chondrites. Nevertheless, most chondrites were modified on their parent asteroids by thermal metamorphism, shock, and alteration by water. A few chondrites were little altered and retained their original textures; these rocks provide clues to the early history of the solar system. Meteorites from asteroids that were melted include basaltic meteorites, iron meteorites from asteroidal cores, and stony-irons from the core-mantle boundaries. These "differentiated" meteorites provide clues to the nature of the first bodies in the solar system to melt.


Dr. Alan Rubin received a B.S. in Astronomy from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1974, an M.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1979, and a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of New Mexico in 1982. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian in Washington for a year and then went on to UCLA where he worked as a research geochemist doing meteorite research and an Adjunct Professor. While in Chicago, he worked at the Adler Planetarium for about five years, giving sky shows, teaching classes, and giving occasional lectures. He has published about 200 research papers on meteorites and about 50 popular articles on various space-science topics. He also published a book, Disturbing the Solar System, in 2002 from Princeton University Press.


In honor of his research contributions, an asteroid, 6227 Alanrubin, was named for him in 2002 and a garnet mineral, rubinite, was named for him last year.


Check-in and the Café at the End of the Universe open at 6:00 p.m. The Observatory will be closed to the general public, and the only area/exhibits inside the building open to ticketed guests is in the immediate vicinity of the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater. The presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater. The Stellar Emporium will be closed.



Reservations are required to access event parking and enter Griffith Observatory. In the case of sold-out shows, ticket sales will close. Non-wait list tickets not picked up by 7:40 p.m. will be made available to wait-listed guests. The event wait list may be joined by emailing, including the number of seats requested and a full name for the reservation. Wait list tickets are sold at the door, cash (exact change) only. No refunds are available. All registration closes October 22, 4:00 p.m.

If your membership has lapsed or you would like to become a FOTO member, renew or join easily on-line at For event or membership questions, please send an email to Marc at or call 213.473.0879.

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