An Article In Meteorite-Times Magazine
by Robert Verish

Fleischmann Planetarium

A must see destination in Reno at the University of Nevada.


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It had been several years ago when I last visited the Fleischmann Planetarium, and even then there was talk about the building being removed to make way for a parking structure and expansion of the football stadium at the University of Nevada at Reno (UNR). So, I wasn't even sure that it still existed. But, I found myself in Reno during the middle of the day and having some spare time, I decided to see if the planetarium and its meteorite display were still there.
O. Richard Norton was director of this planetarium back in its early days. It seems that every planetarium that Richard had some involvement would have a meteorite display, which should not come as any surprise. In this case the meteorites that were on display are "on loan" from the University's Mackey School of Mines. That is, with the sole exception of the display's most recent addition, the latest Nevada iron meteorite which has the formally-approved name, "Sawtooth Knob", which is on loan from the finders.

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Entrance to the Planetarium

What with the planetarium building being eliptical in shape, there is no trouble finding the entrance.

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Gift Shop at the Planetarium

The gift shop is not hard to find.

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Domed Theater at the Planetarium

This is the theater in which O. Richard Norton tested his invention, the world's first 35 mm fisheye motion picture system, called the Atmospherium, which was used to project realistic time-lapse motion pictures of developing weather systems onto the interior of this planetarium dome.

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See a SkyDome 8/70 large-format feature film, a planetarium star show, or a planetarium light show or all three!

The Planetarium has a webpage on the University's web site, and here is the link to the programs "Now Showing in The Star Theater"!

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The Free Exhibits at the Planetarium

Here is a link to the "FREE Exhibits"!
The meteorite display is included in the free exhibits, and photography is permitted, but being plagued by poor lighting, it makes taking images very difficult. In the above image can be seen the display case of "Stony, Iron, and Stony-iron Meteorites" (on the left) and on the floor (to the right) sits the "one ton portion of the Quinn Canyon Meteorite". You will need to click on this image in order to see depicted the "Touch a Falling Star" display. This is where a 30 pound Odessa meteorite is hanging from a bolted chain and is allowed to be handled.

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The Sawtooth Knob Meteorite on display at the Planetarium

Actually, the find location for this meteorite is not anywhere near Elko, Nevada. Sawtooth Knob is located in Humbolt County, but close to the Pershing County line.

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The Sawtooth Knob Meteorite on display at the Planetarium

Another image of the Sawtooth Knob Iron. These two specimens were the only addition to the Meteorite Display since my last visit to the Planetarium several years ago.

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The Sawtooth Knob Meteorite on display at the Planetarium

Writeup from Meteoritical Bulletin No. 88:
 
Sawtooth Knob 
Humboldt County, NV USA
Found 06/13/2002
Iron (IIAB)
Two individual masses, 13.44 g and 5.10 g, were found within 100 m of each other, 
in a dry streambed, by Patricia and Gordon Cave who were prospecting for gold 
with metal detectors. Both samples were recovered from 4-8 inches depth in soft, 
dry, desert soil. Both are complete individuals with 2-3 mm diameter regmaglypt-like 
markings on the exterior. 
Classification and analysis (D. Hill, LPL): 
The analyzed sample is mainly kamacite with trace amounts (<<5%) of taenite and schreibersite. 
No shock deformation is evident. Average compositions from microprobe analysis are: 
Kamacite, Fe = 93.6  1.4 %, Ni = 5.9  0.6 % (n=536); 
Taenite, Fe = 72.4  5.8 %, Ni = 26.0  5.9 % (n=111);
Schreibersite, Fe = 44.7  6.5 %; Ni = 40.7  5.2 %; P = 14.3  1.8 % (n=94). 
Width of cross section of a single kamacite lamella ~ 4.3  0.5 mm. 
The larger, intact specimen indicates octahedral structure with similar kamacite widths. 
No obvious Widmanstatten structure is visible on the etched surface. 
Average bulk composition of two replicate INAA samples from the smaller specimen: 
Ni 6.04  0.06%; Ga 54.6  0.5  g g-1; Ge 190  40  g g-1; Ir 0.018  0.002  g g-1; 
Au 1.06 0.01  g g-1; W 0.62  0.03  g g-1; As 7.94  0.11  g g-1. 
Based on Ni and other elements, a IIAB designation is indicated, with a closer agreement to IIB irons. 
Comparisons of Au vs. Ga, Co, Ir exhibit concentrations that are consistent with IIAB also but 
do not fall exactly along sample trends noted by Wasson et. al (1998). 
Type specimens: 
2.3 g LPL; 2.8 g + 13.44 g (main mass) Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center, U. of Nevada. 

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This little known meteorite display houses most of Nevada's historical iron meteorites, and just for that one reason alone, this Planetarium is worthy of your attention should you find yourself in Reno with a little spare time for a pleasant diversion.


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