meteorites at the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker (Netherlands)
Dutch collector-friend asked me if I would be interested in lending out
meteorites, for them to be displayed in the Eise
Eisinga planetarium attracts about 50000 visitor per year. A lot of
people would be able to see our stones and irons from space. Who knows,
somebody might even get infected by the meteorite-collecting virus, so
only about 1 per million or so, we meteorite collectors are a rare
species. Even rarer than meteorites themselves!
We had a nice
afternoon arranging the displays. Below a photographic impression,
and some general information about the Planetarium.
The photograph above, shows the original Planetarium building, with to
its left a building that
was acquisitioned more recently,
and harbours the "Planetarium Café" at the ground floor.
Planetarium is located in the Dutch province Friesland, in the
picturesque little city
Franeker was founded in
about 800 AD, received city rights in 1374 and nowadays has about 13000
From 1585 until 1811 (when Napoleon during French occupation ordered
it to be
closed) the city even had its own University. In this period an
orrery was built by Eise Eisinga (1744-1828), a wool comber with a
passion for astronomy and mathematics, who eventually became a
professor at the Franeker Academy.
Eisinga build the orrery
- the oldest still working Planetarium in the world - between 1774 and
1781, in the ceiling of the living room of his own house, a bell
gable house build in 1768.
During the time of exposition, when entering Franeker, this sign would be visible. Isn't that just great!
were two showcases to be filled. The first one, shown above, was
located in a wall
in the access hall to the floor above the Planetarium Café.
It was decided that this showcase should act as an eye catcher.
Therefore it exhibits a few larger stones, and some samples of
meteorites. The day after our visit, the information boards at the
walls were going to be
filled with meteorite related information.
The photographs below show the content of this showcase in more detail.
illustrate our preparation of the showcase in the main room, above
the Planetarium Café.
carried many kilograms (about 60 specimens) of
(part) slices, endcuts and half and whole stones and irons to
With the showcase in the access hall being designed to be the
eye catcher, the showcase in the main room should give an overall
impression of (some of) the different types of meteorites.
meteorite specimens had their own label, mentioning name, type and
where and when a meteorite was fallen or found.
Now the question
was how to arrange all these different pieces. Alphabetically?
type? By country of origin? By size or shape? In straight rows or just
We decide to first sort in Ordinary Chondrites,
Carbonaceous Chondrites, Achondrites, Iron and
remained were Enstatite Chondrite DaG 734 (EL4) and Rumuruti-like
Chondrite NWA 753 (R3.9). These two became stowaways between the
The case had a large surface area, allowing
many different ways to arrange the specimens. Also the Planetarium had
numerous different types of stands that could be used. After some
puzzling, we followed the advice of Sjoukje, who works at
the Planetarium, and arranged them in groups.
Above the showcase in the main room just before we
left. Only the cards to identify the five main groups (Ordinary
Carbonaceous Chondrites, Achondrites, Iron and Stony-iron) were still
missing. Time flew, and it had become time to leave. Sjoukje would make
and add the cards the next day.
Below some details of this showcase. Even without cards, it should not
be too difficult to identify the different groups.
image to enlarge
image to enlarge
image to enlarge