Posted by: T. Boyd | March 1, 2009

Collecting Micrometeorites

[February 1, 2017 – The latest news: A new study, indeed, has found they can be found in collected rain, but it is not easy.  Check out this article from Sky and Telescope ]

[Please see note at bottom – this “hobby” is largely a myth, unfortunately.  And I will concur with the Note – I never found one of the critters after hours of trying]

Now here is an amazing free source of outer space material.  micrometeorites I heard of this years ago, and tried it briefly back then, finally trying it again yesterday.  We got our first rain in weeks and after reading several nice articles on how to do it, I collected two jar-full samples of the downspout water. (This photo is from Steve Spangler’s blog referenced below).

I used a coffee filter to collect the dust from the water, and dried the filter in our toaster oven (low setting).  Then, instead of separating out the iron particles with a magnet, I used two stick-um notes to collect all of the particles.  The water was mostly clear because the roof had already been rinsed off before I started collecting.  Since a good percentage of the meteorites are nonferrous types, they would be missed by the magnetic method of separating meteorites from earthly particles.

This week I found a wonderful buy on two medical-grade binocular microscopes, making this exercise possible.  From my first jar of water, I am pretty sure I found one nice micrometeorite, but it was so tiny, it popped out of view when I approached it with tweezers under the scope, and I wasn’t able to recover it.  It looked just like some of the pictures in the links below.

I haven’t searched the 2nd sample yet.  I will post the results later.

Here are some of the links I got from Google “collecting micrometeorites”:

(That’s funny – I just checked the 4 links formerly here – all of them have disappeared!)

NOTE: (from responses to this article )

ralfalfa
2/18/13 5:10pm

This is, unfortunately, a myth. There are tens of thousands of tons of anthropogenic particulates thrown into the sky daily by engines of all kinds, many of them magnetic and roughly spherical. The worst are coal-fired power plants that not only produce dark, metallic fly ash but also spread it far and wide. With most estimates of ET debris input in the 20-40,000 ton per year, and only a small proportion of it durable metallic spheres, you can see the problem.

When I was a grad student (working on micrometeorites), myself and others tested the “rain gutter and magnets” theory and couldn’t find a single particle out of many thousand we looked at that had a composition more consistent with an extraterrestrial origin than an anthropogenic origin.

In fact, if you want to find micrometeorites and cosmic dust, you simply have to find a place where the input of terrestrial or anthropogenic dust is very, very low, which in turn means the proportion of ET debris is high. The interiors of polar icesheets are good, as is the middle of the ocean (or they were until steam ships were developed). That’s where the pros go to get them, along with flying sticky plates high in the stratosphere.

Sigh,

Boyd


Responses

  1. […] are the MicroMeteorites? I wrote a year ago or so on this blog about finding micrometeorites in the snow, or in rain, or in just dust falling […]

  2. […] I will let you know if this technique works.  I got the idea from one of the references in my original article. […]

  3. Many, sadly have the impression that the spherical magnetic particles are micrometeorites correction they are not. I have personally analysed 450 samples from most continents, what I am finding is very interesting spheres some are magnetic others not so, some are green, black, orange and blue, some are transparent but that does not make the micrometeorites or micro tektites, the truth is most if not all of the spheres are anthropogenic, that is they are from various Industrial processes such as coal fired power statioins, steam locos, welding and grind stone debris, please don’t try to fool science and do not accept what a multitude believe are micrometeorites which are not, if you care to contact myself I shall be only too willing to help to sort this very misleading believe about spherical particles.
    David Bradbury . UK.
    Bradbury.arcana@btinternet.com

  4. Thanks, David. Have you posted your suggestions about possibly finding them and how to distinguish between micrometeorites and the earth-generated spheres?
    Boyd

  5. fantastic put up, very informative. I’m wondering why the other specialists of
    this sector don’t notice this. You should continue your writing.
    I am sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

    • Thanks for the comments, “online pharmacy”. I hope to get back to writing articles soon, and also doing more searching for these elusive creatures. 🙂


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