Welcome to Star Catching!

Highslide JS
Sean T. Murray, photo taken in Misty Fjords, Alaska
Sean T. Murray
Where it began

I've been collecting meteorites and impactites since December of 2007, but my fascination and love of space and science has been with me for far longer. As with most children, I loved space. I have vivid memories of the pride I felt when I memorized the 9 planets of our solar system (Yes... back then it was 9!) I can remember watching some of the early Apollo missions on television and dreaming of being an astronaut. One of my favorite Christmas gifts was a little telescope. Even though it was barely good enough to look at the moon, I spent many evenings outside staring up at the night sky.

Though my collection of meteorites and tektites is relatively new, I did find a wonderful "meteorwrong" when I was 11 years old. My father travelled for his business, and occasionally I was able to join him on his trips up and down the eastern United States. During one rest stop in Tennessee, I decided to take a short hike in the woods to stretch my legs (and wander about as kids do...) and came upon a large, overgrown, circular depression in the ground. In the center of the depression I found a pile of shiny metallic stones. I was thoroughly convinced I had found a visitor from outer space and picked up one of the larger pieces to bring back and show my father. The find fueled a series of visits to the library to read about meteorites, science and anything space-related. The rock was eventually put away in a box of stones and fossils where it was forgotten for over 30 years.

My First Real Meteorite

Jump forward to November of 2007... I was watching a about show Libyan Desert Glass (LDG) called "Ancient Asteroid" on the National Geographic Channel and was fascinated about its meteoric origin and place in Egyptian history. It was an amazing thing to consider... a natural event that was so powerful that it could literally melt the earth into glass. I watched the show on my DVR several times over and decided that I would try to get a piece of LDG. After a little research, I found that the North Atlanta Trade Center, Norcross, Georgia was hosting the North Atlanta Gem, Mineral, Fossil, & Jewelry Show. I decided that I would head over to the show and see if there were any specimens of these glasses available from the the dealers.

When I arrived at the show, I was able to find one dealer with some small samples of LDG, but was shocked at the price. Since I could not justify the purchase, I moved on and continued to look around the rest of the tables. Walking by one dealer, I noticed a shiny, oddly shaped metallic object in one of the display cases. I asked the dealer what it was and she told me it was an iron meteorite found in Russia in 1947 called Sikhote-Alin. I was shocked. I had no idea that you could own a meteorite. Up until that moment I had only seen them in museums. I negotiated a price I could live with, purchased the rock, and headed back towards the entrance of the convention center with my very first meteorite.

Highslide JS
Checking in at the Meteorite Association of Georgia table after purchasing my very first meteorite (Sikhote-Alin) on Dec 7th, 2007. A day which will live in infamy.
12/07/2007: Visiting the MAG
table with my first meteorite
On the way out of the center, I noticed that there was a small table near the entrance with a sign reading "Meteorite Association of Georgia (MAG.)" I thought to myself that this would be an opportunity to show the meteorite to some of these folks and confirm if I had purchased the real thing, and if I had paid a reasonable price for the specimen. I produced the rock for their inspection and to my surprise one of the members, a collector named Dave Gheesling, was able to tell me the type of meteorite it was as soon as he saw it and given the weight and the aesthetics of the specimen I'd gotten a very good deal. Little did I know, but Dave had also taken a picture of me when I came up to the table... so I have a photographic record of my first meteorite purchase and meeting with the MAG folks. You can see the picture in my Photo Gallery. After a brief conversation, I decided to join the group and learn as much as I could about tektites and meteorites.

The Adventure Continues

Since that time my involvement in the hobby has been meteoric -- in all senses of the word. I attended my first MAG meeting in January of 2008 and created a Website for the group focusing on Georgia meteorites and tektites. I joined the International Meteorite Collectors Association (IMCA #3138) in February of 2008. I've had the opportunity to be out in the field hunting meteorites in Georgia and Arizona, as well as hunting tektites in the North American Strewn field. I have even spoken to elementary and middle school children about tektites and meteorites. My meteorite collection has grown to more than 800 specimens from over 225 locations, and my impactite collection is even more extensive, covering all of the major strewnfields and impact sites. And recently, in April of 2011, I was elected to the position of President of the Meteorite Association of Georgia, following the term of the founding President, Anita Westlake.

Highslide JS
My first "meteorwrong:" Silicon Metal - It is an alloying agent in aluminum mainly used for automobile components.
My first "meteorwrong:"
man-made silica metal
Collecting meteorites and tektites is an amazing hobby. There is always something to learn and someone interesting to meet. Who knew that a simple walk in the woods for an 11 year old would turn into such a passion. I'll always look back at that first rock, even though it was not a meteorite, as the beginning of my passion for space and meteoritics.

You might have wondered where that rock is... I recently found it in that old box of fossils and rocks and have it proudly displayed on my desk. Even though it is a man-made piece of silica metal, probably some old smelting cast off from decades past, it will always hold a special place in my collection.

What you will find on StarCatching.com:

The Star Catching Website focuses mainly on my personal collection of meteorites and tektites. There are so many great resources on the Internet regarding meteoritics, that I did not feel it was necessary to rehash basic educational references regarding meteorites and tektites. With this in mind, I've provided links to some great information to help educate, and in some cases entertain, other collectors and enthusiasts. These resources are the very same ones that I use regarding my collection.

Currently, the Star Catching Website contains most of it's intended functionality, but the entire catalog of meteorites and tektites will take some time to photograph and input. I've placed a few test items in the catalog so that you can see how the currrent Web pages function.

The Star Catching Website has four basic sections:
Unclassified 98g NWA
Meteorite Collection:
Browse through my meteorite collection using interactive maps and category trees to see stone, iron and stoney iron specimens. Collection statistics and full text listings are also available.
Australasian Tektite Button
Impactite Collection:
Browse through my impactite collection using using interactive maps and category trees to view tektites and other impact artifacts. Collection statistics and full text listings are also available.
Photo Gallery
Photo gallery:
View photos related to my meteorite hobby. The current gallery contains pictures of my meteorite activities, friends and their collections, field work, and other miscellaneous photos.
Links and Resources
Links & Resources:
If you have questions about meteorites or the Star Catching Website, make sure to visit the FAQ and Help pages. If you still have more questions, I've provided links to other collections, educational resources, and institutions.

Please feel free to Contact Me with any questions!