MICRO-METEORITES


These are the bits of rock that survive a firery entry into the atmosphere from the bigger meteors gambiling around in our solar system.

Collecting Micrometerorites:
#1 A clean 2-5 gallon plastic bucket or a child's swimming pool.
#2 Plastic sandwich bag.
#3 Magnet (A strong neodymium disk magnet works good).
#4 Microscope (atleast a 100x power).

Seperation of the micrometeorites: If using a bucket you can pour some of the water out so that the solids are left behind. If possible tie a string the the magnet and place the magnet in the sandwich bag and lower it to the bottom of the bucket or what ever you are using. move it through the watery solids and then lift the bag and inspect it. Any fragments that might have been attacted to the magnet will be clinging to the outside of the plastic bag. Place bag over a white sheet of paper and remove the magnet from the bag, shkae lose the wet particles carefully, do this until everything is collected.


Once everything is collected and on the sheet of paper it can be put aside to dry. When dry the particles can be removed and placed on clean microscope slides for study and examination under a 100x power microscope needed to see them clearly. Micrometeorites will be tiny glossy shapes of either a rod, raindrop, sphere or pear. The slides can be mounted for future reference.

Using a microscope with a digital camera can make things a lot easier for photograph taking. Celestron sells a digital microscope kit thats inexpensive and easy to use with a desk top or laptop computer.

Micrometerites are small bits of rock and metal that collide with earth's upper atmosphere and besause of friction burn up. On rare occasions, man-made satellities and spacecraft parts fall into the atmosphere and burn up the same way. The flash of light from this incineration is called a meteor. A meteor is formed when an object, usually the size of a marble or smaller hits the atmosphere at an altitude of 50-60 miles. The air at this height is very thin, with objects moving at tens of thousands of miles/hour, they create heat through friction and begin to burn up. Large objects do not burn up completely, surviving fragments fall through the atmosphere and land on earth. Once on of these objects lands it is called a meteroite and most fall in the earth's oceans. Meteorites can be either rock, metal (nickel and iron) or a mixture of both. Stony meterorites sre difficult to identifly, they do not glow or give off radioactivity, stones outnumber metals.


Micrometeorites that enter through the atmosphere can stay aloft in the atmosphere for months before coming down to earth's surface. These particles are tiny and may weigh only about 0.000001 grams, so they don't fall straight to earth they may be carried by winds aloft, from which they gradually escape via rain, snow or surface winds and come to rest on the earth.


I would be interested in knowing what kind of micrometeorite work is going on outthere, so please email me with any of your micrometeorite research.