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The MetBase Library of Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences is the largest privately owned library of its kind. It is located in the heart of Bremen and open to researchers upon appointment. It presently hosts approximately 50,000 articles, abstracts, catalogs, special publications and books on:

Meteorites
Meteors
Solar System Origin and Evolution
Cosmochemistry
Impact cratering and craters
Tektites
Lunar Sciences (geology, geophysics)
Apollo Project and lunar sample studies
Mars and martian geology
Exobiology
Asteroids

» List of books and special prints in the MetBase Library (pdf file) [536 KB]


A selection of early books and prints on meteorites from the MetBase Library is presented below. Most are important works for the understanding of meteorites and history of meteoritics; others are rather curious or stange treatises.

The earliest print in the library dates back to 1493. It contains a woodcut of the fall of the Ensisheim meteorite (see picture below)


1492 - Ensisheim:

Hand-colored woodcut showing the fall of the Ensisheim meteorite (H.Schedel, Liber Chronicarum, 1493)


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1762 - Fireball over Germany:

A mid 18th century monograph trying to explain the fireball observed over Germany on 23. July 1762: J.E.Silberschlag (1764) Theorie der am 23. Julii, 1762 erschienen Feuerkugel. Magdeburg, Stendal u. Leipzig: Hechtel, 135 pp.

1762 - Fireball over Germany:

Drawings of the fireball observed over Germany in 1762. In: Silberschlag (1764) Theorie der am 23. Julii, 1762 erschienen Feuerkugel, plate 1

1771 - Fireball over England and France:

Drawings of a fireball observed over France and England. From: Le Roy (1771) Mémoire sur le Météore ou Globe de Feu, observé au mois de Julliet dernier, dans une grande partie de la France. Mémoires de l'Academie Royale de Sciences, Paris, plate XIV.


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1766 - Albareto, Italy:

The first monograph ever published on a single meteorite (Albareto, Italy): D.Troili (1766) Della caduta di un sasso dall'aria ragionamento..., Modena: Bartolomeo Soliani, 120 pp.


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1781 - Fireballs over North America:

Earliest known U.S. American work on meteors: T.Clap (1781) Conjectures Upon the Nature and Motion of Meteors Which are Above the Atmosphere, John Trumbull, Norwich, 15 pp.


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1794 - The Birth of Meteoritics:

The founding of meteoritics: E.F.F.Chladni (1794) Über den Ursprung der von Pallas gefundenen und anderer ihr ähnlicher Eisenmassen, und über einige damit in Verbindung stehende Naturerscheinungen. Riga and Leipzig: J.F.Hartknoch, 63 pp. (Reprint edition, 1974, UCLA)


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1802 - Chemical Composition of Meteorites:

An important study on the chemical composition of meteorites: E.C.Howard (1802) Experiments and observations on certain stony and metalline substances which at different times are said to have fallen on the earth; also on various kinds of native iron. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 168-212.


View or download this article:

» Edward Howard (1802) Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 168-212. [18.875 KB]

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1803 - Atmosheric Origin of Meteorites:

An early and curious book by a supporter of an atmospheric origin of meteorites: J.Izarn (1803) Des pierres tombées du ciel, ou lithologie atmosphèrique, Paris, 422 pp.


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1804 - Lunar Origin of Meteorites:

A curious early work on meteorites, supporting Olbers theory of a lunar origin of meteorites: F.A.v.Ende (1804) Über Massen und Steine, die aus dem Monde auf die Erde gefallen sind. F.Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig, 90 pp.


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1812 - A History of Meteorites and its Literature:

Another Early French work on meteorites: Bigot de Morogues (1812) Mémoire historique et physique sur les chutes des pierres tombées sur la surface de la terre à diverses époques. Orléans: Jacob Ainé, 361 pp.


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1819 - History of Meteorites and its Literature:

Chladni's synthesis of 25 years work on meteorites: still an important source for early literature on meteorites and meteors: E.F.F.Chladni (1819) Über Feuer-Meteore, und über die mit denselben herabgefallenen Massen, Wien: J.G.Heubner, 434 pp.

1819 - Chladni's Letter to the Publisher:

E.F.F.Chladni: Letter to publisher J.G.Heubner in Vienna, suggesting terms and conditions in connection with the publication of his book "Feuermeteore", 1819.


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1820 - First Pictorial Work in Folio Format:

Definitely the most beautiful early 19th century book on meteorites in a large folio fomat, containing 8 lithographic plates and the famous nature print of the Elbogen meteorite prepared by Alois Widmanstätter: Carl von Schreibers (1820) Beyträge zur Geschichte und Kenntniss meteorischer Stein und Metallmassen, und der Erscheinungen, welche deren Niederfall zu begleiten pflegen. J.G.Heubner, Vienna, 97 pp.

1820 - Widmanstätten's Nature Print:

Nature print prepared from an etched surface of the Elbogen iron meteorite by Alois von Widmannstätter. Attached to: C.v.Schreibers (1820) Beyträge zur Geschichte und Kenntniss meteorischer Stein und Metallmassen...

1820 - Plate VIII of Schreiber's Folio:

Plate with a hand-colored drawing of the Pallas iron (Krasnojarsk) and nature prints of Lenarto, Agram and Morito iron meteorites. In: C.v.Schreibers (1820) Beyträge zur Geschichte und Kenntniss meteorischer Stein und Metallmassen..., plate VIII.

1820 - Plate VI of Schreiber's Folio:

Plate showing a selection of Stannern individuals in the collection of the "Naturalienkabinett Wien". In: C.v.Schreibers (1820) Beyträge zur Geschichte und Kenntniss meteorischer Stein und Metallmassen..., plate VI.

1820 - Plate I of Schreiber's Folio:

Double-page plate (50x37cm) showing the Hraschina/Agram iron meteorite. In: C.v.Schreibers (1820) Beyträge zur Geschichte und Kenntniss meteorischer Stein und Metallmassen..., plate I.


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1843 - The Meteorite Collection in Vienna:

Early work on meteorites including an autograph of the Lenarto iron: P.Partsch (1843) Die Meteoriten oder vom Himmel gefallenen Stein- und Eisenmassen im k. k. Hof-Mineralien-Kabinette zu Wien, 175 pp.


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1864 - Classification of Meteorites:

The most important 19th century work on the classification of meteorites: Gustav Rose (1864) Beschreibung und Eintheilung der Meteoriten auf Grund der Sammlung im mineralogischen Museum zu Berlin, 138 pp., 4 plates.

1864 - Classification of Meteorites:

Plate with drawings of meteoritic microstructures. From: G.Rose (1864) Beschreibung und Eintheilung der Meteoriten auf Grund der Sammlung im mineralogischen Museum zu Berlin.

1885 - Microscopy of Meteorite Sections:

Title page of the famous work by Gustav Tschermak on microstructures of meteorites (mainly chondrites), with early photographs of thin sections: G.Tschermak (1885) Die mikroskopische Beschaffenheit der Meteoriten, erläutert durch photographische Abbildungen. E.Schweitzerbart, Stuttgart, 24 pp., 25 plates.


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1885 - Microscopy of Meteorite Sections:

Plate with early photographic micrographs of chondrites (Lancé, Mezö-Madaras, Tieschitz, Homestead). In: G.Tschermak (1885) Die mikroskopische Beschaffenheit der Meteoriten, erläutert durch photographische Abbildungen. E.Schweitzerbart, Stuttgart, plate VII.


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1880 - Fossils in Meteorites?

Though strange in proposing the hypothesis that meteorites are remains of formerly living organisms, it is likely the earliest pictorial work with photographic micrographs of meteorite sections. Otto Hahn (1880) Die Meteorite (Chondrite) und ihre Organismen. Laupp'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Tübingen, 56 pp., 22 pls.


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1897 - A Catalog of Meteorite Repositories:

Still an important sourcebook of 19th century literature on individual meteorites and meteorite collections: E.A.Wülfing (1897) Die Meteoriten in Sammlungen und ihre Literatur, nebst einem Versuch, den Tauschwerth der Meteoriten zu bestimmen. Laupp'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Tübingen, 460 pp.


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1864 - Orgueil:

Plate with drawings of individuals of the Orgueil shower producing meteorite in the collection of the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. In: G.A. Daubrée (1864) Note sur les météorites tombées le 14. mai aux environs d'Orgueil (Tarn-et-Garonne). Comptes rendus de l'académie des sciences 58, plate I.


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1867 - Cometary Origin of Meteors:

Schiaparelli's theory of a cometary origin of the Perseid and Leonid meteors: G.V.Schiaparelli (1867) Note e riflessioni intorno alla teoria astronomica delle stelle cadenti. Florence: Stamperia Reale, 132 pp.