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Exhibiting meteorites at the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker (Netherlands)


A Dutch collector-friend asked me if I would be interested in lending out some meteorites, for them to be displayed in the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker (Netherlands).
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 I agreed. With 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.

The Planetarium is located in the Dutch province Friesland, in the picturesque little city Franeker.
Franeker was founded in about 800 AD, received city rights in 1374 and nowadays has about 13000 inhabitants.
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.
 
 
 

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During the time of exposition, when entering Franeker, this sign would be visible. Isn't that just great!
 
 
 

There 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 special 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.
 

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At the top shelf, a 1853g Bassikounou to the right, next to a 4+kg unclassified stony meteorite.
In the background two examples of thin sections: achondrite (Diogenite) NWA 4034 and chondrite (L/LL3) Sahara 98035.

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On the shelf below the large stones,
four watch glasses with small samples of Dutch meteorites Glanerbrug (Fall:1990;  L/LL5) and Utrecht (Fall:1843; L6), and samples from Mars (DaG 476) and the Moon (DaG 400).
Below that, a shelf with a cast of the April 9, 2009 Slovenian Fall Jesenice (L6) and an unclassified stony desert find, both with in situ photographs.

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At the bottom shelf, photographs of
Dieter Heinlein with the European Network Meteor Camera #45 Streitheim, and an All-sky image of the Neuschwanstein fireball made with the same camera
 
 
 
 
 
 
                  
 
These photographs illustrate our preparation of the showcase in the main room, above the Planetarium Café.
We carried many kilograms (about 60 specimens) of meteorite fragments, (part) slices, endcuts and half and whole stones and irons to the Planetarium. 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. All 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? By type? By country of origin? By size or shape? In straight rows or just strewn around?
We decide to first sort in Ordinary Chondrites, Carbonaceous Chondrites, Achondrites, Iron and Stony-iron. What remained were Enstatite Chondrite DaG 734 (EL4) and Rumuruti-like Chondrite NWA 753 (R3.9). These two became stowaways between the Ordinary Chondrites.
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 Chondrites, 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.
 
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For dimensional reference,
at 2 o'clock in the detail to the left, a 288g Allende halfstone


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