A great celestial mystery revealed

From the time we’re kids, we search the night sky for shooting stars, hoping to make a wish and have it come true. Of course, those darting balls of light aren’t stars at all, but meteors, which sometimes become meteorites, the mineral-rich rocks that occasionally break through the atmosphere to land on earth. Christopher Cokinos’s The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars examines why these bits of outer space captivate us—from sky to ground —and what they can tell us about our planet, and ourselves.

Cokinos profiles a collection of meteorite chasers: those obsessed with cracking the code of these otherworldly objects, and those who hope to profit from them as well. (How would you like to pay $3,500 for a chunk of Mars?) Along the way, he goes into the science of supernovae and stars and many things sky-related while also examining his own life, and how his pursuit of elusive meteorites has changed him. To be sure, The Fallen Sky is a scientific investigation, but it’s also a memoir and a love story, one that will send you outside to sky-gaze as soon as you put it down.

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