The search for fresh micrometeorites in populated areas has gradually evolved from being “impossible” to the present-day citizen science movement. The breakthrough came when I finally broke the code and found the very first urban micrometeorite in Norway, which was verified in February 2015, by Dr. Matthew Genge.
Naturally, the terrestrial landing place of any cosmic spherule is not of any real importance. Micrometeorites come from outer space and since jet streams in the atmosphere re-distribute incoming space dust, the final stop is random. It is, however, fun to compare and I was proud when I found the first micrometeorites in France (2015), Greece (2016), Germany (2016), Spain (Catalonia, 2016), United States of America (2017), and in Denmark (2022). In between other splendid collectors have found micrometeorites in Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. And who else?
It is with pride and joy that I report about a field search in Sweden last year. On September 21st, I drove to the town of Strömstad, located on the west coast, where I had permission to mount the roof of a shopping center to search for micrometeorites. Searching for stardust is not well known in Sweden yet, so it took me some time to get the necessary permission. When the day arrived, however, it was green light all along, and I spent five hours with brooms and magnet on the large roof. This was Field Search No. 1110 for me since I started in July 2009 and the yield was approximately three grams of rinsed magnetic particles in the 0.2 to 0.4 mm fraction.
The subsequent microscopy revealed no less than sixty fresh micrometeorites, which to my knowledge are the very first ones from Sweden. Nine of the stones have been photographed by Jan Braly Kihle and me and I have put them together in the new collage at the top of this post. The micrometeorites in the collage are, from top to bottom and left to right: NMM 3861, NMM 3866, NMM 3865, NMM 3871, NMM 3854, NMM 3877, NMM 3870, NMM 3864, NMM 3859.
Twenty-four of the micrometeorites have also been analyzed using a scanning electron microscope and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) together with Siri Simonsen at the University of Oslo. We found several interesting phenomena, from sculptural “turtlebacks” to platinum group nuggets (PGNs).
In all, we are happy to share the news of these first-time findings with you in country number eight! Welcome, Sweden, to Project Stardust! We hope these first discoveries will encourage you to take up the hunt and add new findings for the collective benefit of science and society.
We have a vibrant, inquisitive, and tenacious community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so please join us there! And, as always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment or send a DM.