Last Tuesday, Jan Braly Kihle and I came up with a new way to use our photo equipment that would maximize the magnification of our visual photography. We conceived of a process that would theoretically produce ten times as many individual photos as usual, capturing nearly three thousand single exposures! However daunting this technique seemed, it could potentially reveal more details on micrometeorites than ever seen before. So we decided to try it out!
The photography sessions, which were streamed live on the Project Stardust Twitch Channel, took two days to complete. It was truly a delight that a few hundred people dropped by to see the process and ask us questions as we worked!
Since it was not planned in advance, we simply photographed the next micrometeorite in line. NMM 3193 is an average barred olivine (BO) type micrometeorite measuring approximately 0.3 mm in diameter; the most common of all types of micrometeorites.
When the marathon process was finished, we almost fell off our chairs! The full size photo, which is 27,600 x 27,600 pixels — almost a gigapixel — revealed more details than we ever could have imagined!
In the crevices between the olivine crystal domains there are magnetite Christmas tree crystals like no-one has ever seen before. And there are subtle color nuances following the grain borders — a phenomenon never before observed.
All of this stunning beauty, observed in a truly average micrometeorite, was made possible thanks to the extreme magnification of our new technique: Almost 10,000 times. This is without a doubt the largest photo ever taken of a micrometeorite and we can comfortably claim a world record because of it.
During the livestream, we received truly wonderful questions about our work, our equipment, our software, and (of course) micrometeorites. In the coming weeks, we will answer all of these questions again, in detail, here on our blog.
For now, we wonder: What else is in store for us in the future with this new methodology? And who wants a 3 x 3 meter ULTRA hi-res photo of NMM 3193?
We couldn’t be more happy with how the final image turned out and we hope you agree that the time of the micrometeorites is now!