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Micrometeorites

Striking green glass micrometeorite has vesicles and beads

There are many new stardust hunters out there, and some of you will find amazing space gems as soon as you’ve broken the code for identification. There are enough astounding micrometeorites and new discoveries in store for all of us.

In order to best help my fellow stardust hunters, there is one misconception I would like to erase: Micrometeorites are usually neither spherical nor metal. Instead, they are more typically aerodynamic particles made of magnesium silicates such as olivine, forsterite, and pyroxene. And, when metal is present, it typically appears in the form of a nickel-iron bead.

Introducing NMM 1453

Take, for example, this striking micrometeorite, which was recently re-photographed by yours truly and Jan Braly Kihle using our updated techniques. The beautiful NMM 1453 measures approximately 0.25 mm and is an elongated olive green glass or vitreous (V) type micrometeorite. The green color is due to a dominance of the iron cation, Fe2+. However, our favorite feature must be its large internal vesicles, which are clearly visible in its depths. In the front, which is up in the photo, an iron-rich metal mound has fallen off, possibly due to weathering. In addition, there is a smaller secondary nickel-rich metal bead at the rear end to the left. And finally, clearly visible in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) image, there is a third and even smaller metal bead in the center.

This remarkable particle most likely had a rapid spin during atmospheric entry that was perpendicular to the direction of movement. According to the Classification of Micrometeorites the stone has remained amorphous (glass) due to a very high peak temperature of nearly 2,000°C during atmospheric pulse heating.

Until just a few years ago, being able to deduce the complete formation process of a micrometeorite from its visual appearance was pure sci-fi! How extraordinary!

Please follow Project Stardust on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with my adventures and see new micrometeorites!

Yours truly,

Jon Larsen

SEM image of NMM1453 by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Siri Simonsen from the University of Oslo
SEM image of NMM1453 by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Siri Simonsen from the University of Oslo. © Project Stardust, 2022.

Just in case you're new here!

Together we have amassed the world's most expansive collection of micrometeorites and we can't wait to share it with you.

Whether you're an expert in the field, an art collector with an appetite for treasures from space, or a budding stardust enthusiast, we hope you'll enjoy learning about our work.

Connect with us on social media to share the excitement of seeing new micrometeorites for the first time!

Jon Larsen & Jan Braly Kihle

We're so glad you're here!

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WINTER 2022 COLLECTION

Meet this season's micrometeorites

This season's collection features a variety of stunning micrometeorites. From mountainous cryptocrystalline turtlebacks and bewitching glass spherules to ultra rare giants. Available for a limited time only.

NMM 1448: V-TYPE

NMM 1448:  V-TYPE

Glass / Vitreous

Glass or vitreous type (V-type) micrometeorites each a temperature of up to 2000°C (3600°F) as they descend through the atmosphere..

These delicate, translucent spherules are difficult to find due to their lack of magnetism, since most of their metals evaporated during descent. 

NMM 1359:  CC-TYPE

Crypto-crystalline

Cryptocrystalline (CC-type) micrometeorites are composed of glassy particles with fine-grained crystallites that are too small to recognize as individual grains.

Many of these magnificent spherules feature metal beads and aerodynamic forms, while others have a "turtleback" shape with humps distributed evenly around the spherule.

NMM 1359:  CC-TYPE

NMM 500:  BO-TYPE

Barred Olivine

Barred olivine (BO-type) spherules are coarse-grained  micrometeorites made of the magnesium variety of the mineral olivine, forsterite, which is punctuated with small particles of magnetite.

The surface features striations that are formed when iron reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere. 

NMM 500:  BO-TYPE

NMM 1149:  PO-TYPE

Porphyritic Olivine

Porphyritic olivine (PO-type) micrometeorites are also made of forsterite, a type of olivine that is made of magnesium.

There are many morphological varieties of this type of micrometeorite; From evenly distributed small crystals, to crystals that increase in side, to extremely large or even possibly a single olivine crystal.

NMM 1149:  PO-TYPE

NMM 1271:  Sc-TYPE

Scoriaceous

When stardust does not reach a peak temperature of at least 1350°C (2500°F) during entry and deceleration, it barely melts. Volatile elements expand and escape in the form of gas bubbles, which results in a scoriaceous (SC-type) or vesicular micrometeorite.

Micrometeorites of this type are extremely difficult to find.

NMM 1271:  SC-TYPE

NMM 1271: G-, I-, CAT-typeS

Other Types

From G-types with dark silicate glass, I-types dominated by iron, and milky CAT spherules  enriched with calcium, aluminum, and titanium, to fossil, unmelted, and un-categorized micrometeorites.

There is no question that Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle's contributions have had a dramatic effect on the field.

NMM 1271:  G-/I-/CAT-TYPES

Jon and Jan are
EXCEPTIONAL ARTISTS AND SCIENTISTS. 

Michael Zolensky

NASA JOhnson Space Center

SEM Collection

COMING SOON

Never forget: YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY STARDUST, inside and out.

Color Collection

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FIREBALL: Visitors from Darker Worlds

SEE JOn & Jan IN

From directors Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer, this remarkable journey across our planet and universe explores how meteorites, shooting stars, and deep impacts have awoken our wonder about other realms-and make us rethink our destinies.

Limited Edition

The Atlas

of Micrometeorites

Never before has it been possible to see stardust in such a large format with crisp details. The 500+ color images are made possible by a new photo technology developed for this project by the author and mineralogist Jan Braly Kihle. 

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The Atlas of Micrometeorites provides an INVALUABLE RESOURCE
for stardust hunters around the world.

Matthew Genge

Imperial College, London

ORIGIN STORIES

Jon Larsen revolutionized the study of micrometeorites when he became the first person to discover a micrometeorite from an urban environment. Then a new form of art emerged when he and Jan Braly Kihle created the world's first high resolution photographs of micrometeorites in colour.

Learn about the singular moment that led to Jon's groundbreaking discovery
and the phone call that kickstarted a truly epic friendship.

Jon Larsen revolutionized the study of micrometeorites when he became the first person to discover a micrometeorite from an urban environment. Then a new form of art emerged when he and Jan Braly Kihle created the world's first high resolution photographs of micrometeorites in colour.

Learn about the singular moment that led to Jon's groundbreaking discovery and the phone call that kickstarted a truly epic friendship.

I HAVE TO KNOW

I'm ready. TEACH ME.

Micrometeorites

Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle have amassed the world's most expansive collection of urban micrometeorites and they want you to follow in their footsteps.

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HALLO and welcome!

We're Jon Larsen & Jan Braly Kihle

We are world renowned micrometeorite experts here to share our cosmic art and inspire the world to become star hunters.

STARDUST
is everywhere