[meteorite-list] A "guy with meteorites article"
From: Darren Garrison <cynapse_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun Oct 30 01:13:16 2005
I don't know about other browsers, but in Windows Explorer, the pictures cover half of the text of
the article. One of the photos shows two "possible meteorites". One is an Odessa iron. The other,
though, is a "stony iron" meteorite found "in his yard". That one may or may not be the one that he
thinks is worth $200.
When night falls and most folks are thinking about retiring to the warmth of their beds, Beech Bluff
resident Malcolm Wilcox is sitting on his deck staring at what he calls a "busy sky."
"The other night I saw a fireball," he said. "It was the biggest I've seen in my life."
A retiree, Wilcox has taken up a new hobby - sky watching.
In addition to his love for Civil War history, Wilcox is an amateur astronomer and has started going
to different sites in West Tennessee to investigate meteorites.
A meteorite is defined as a mass of rock or metal that has survived the friction of Earth's
atmosphere to reach the surface, according to the School Discovery Web site.
Wilcox, 65, treasures a meteorite that he collected when he was 16 in Odessa, Texas, in 1956.
To some, Wilcox's meteorite may look like just any old rock.
But the weight of the jet-black object might just turn a skeptic into a believer.
"Back then, I didn't think anything of it (his meteorite), and I traded a lot of them," Wilcox said.
"And now this is my only one like it."
Sky watchers who are seeking to confirm a meteorite may think they could turn to NASA (National
Aeronautics and Space Administration) for confirmation - think again.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is a division of NASA, does not travel to confirm meteorite
"If we did that, we would never get any other work done," said D.C. Agle, a JPL spokesman in
"But if someone finds something they have confidence in, they should contact a local science museum
or university," he said.
Wilcox uses his telescope at night from his deck to watch the activity in the sky. He also keeps a
Bounty Hunter brand metal detector and magnet on wheels handy for when he's out in the field.
"There's money in meteorites," said Wilcox as he held up a Stony Iron meteorite, which he believes
would be valued at $200.
He's been researching meteorites for the past six months and keeps two meteorite books on hand that
he calls his "bibles."
Wilcox believes he's good enough to spot a fraudulent meteorite claim by checking for a few key
"Iron and nickel contents are a good sign that it's a meteorite," he said. "And if a person sees a
meteor falling, then there should be a scent of sulfur."
Let the sky watching begin.
Visit talkback.jacksonsun.com to share your thoughts.
- Tajuana Cheshier, 425-9643
Originally published October 29, 2005
Received on Sun 30 Oct 2005 01:27:13 AM PDT