Searching for micrometeorites with a magnet is fun, exciting, and — if I’m being honest — rather addictive! Every month, the growing number of collectors discover new phenomena and our knowledge about stardust rapidly increases. Who would have thought this five years ago, when I discovered urban micrometeorites after scientists from around the world told me it was impossible?
Less common among star hunters are non-magnetic micrometeorites. These elusive particles do not contain any nickel or iron, and therefore cannot be detected with my typical method. But why aren’t there any magnetic materials in these micrometeorites? One possible explanation is that the micrometeorite echos its precursor from space and the parent body also lacked these materials. Or, alternatively, the metal evaporated in the frictional flash heating during atmospheric entry.
Extraordinary patience must be deployed when searching for non-magnetic micrometeorites, but with some practice it is indeed possible to find them!
In the new collage displayed at the top of this blog entry, I present nine glassy (V-type) micrometeorites that are non-magnetic. Five of them are from Mt. Raymond, Antarctica, borrowed from Dr. Martin Suttle’s collection, and the rest are fresh, and found by me on urban roofs.
Below is a beautiful non-magnetic glass (V-type) micrometeorite measuring approximately 0.3 mm. I found it on the roof of Vallhalla sports arena, which is where Werner Herzog filmed our stardust hunt together, as seen in the cinematic movie “Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds”.
As usual, all photos are by Jan Braly Kihle and me.
If you have any questions, I would be delighted to chat with you on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If you want to learn more about micrometeorites for free, visit our new website or head to Instagram Stories for my Daily Quiz.