They say that the best art takes you to another world; here's a gallery that brings other worlds to you. The UCLA Meteorite Gallery, which holds more than 2,500 samples from nearly 1,500 meteorites, is the public face of the collection that's the second-largest held at a university (Arizona State takes the crown). It's a collection that started with just 192 meteorites donated in the 1960s by UCLA Astronomy Department founder Professor Frederick Leonard, and the most recent specimens are cosmic baubles donated by locals digging at sites around California and beyond. The gallery also regularly features lectures about every aspect of the cosmos, from “Oriented Meteorites: Sculpture by Fire” to “Geysers and Plate Motions on Saturn's Icy Moon Enceladus.” John Wasson, director of the UCLA Collection of Meteorites, and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics researcher Alan Rubin say they get scores of samples that might be rocks from space mailed in to the department by hopeful star-diggers. However, as Rubin puts it on the gallery's website, “People often send what we call 'meteor wrongs' rather than meteorites.”
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