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Micrometeorites

Introducing the first micrometeorites from Sweden!

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.

Project Stardust Founder Jon Larsen collecting the first Swedish micrometeorites on a rooftop in Strömstad
Project Stardust Founder Jon Larsen collecting the first Swedish micrometeorites on a rooftop in Strömstad. © Project Stardust, 2022.
Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen holds a back of magnetic debris containing the first Swedish micrometeorites which he collected from a rooftop in Strömstad
Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen holds a back of magnetic debris containing the first Swedish micrometeorites which he collected from a rooftop in Strömstad. © Project Stardust, 2022.

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.

Project Stardust Founder Jon Larsen discovered the first Swedish micrometeorites on a rooftop in Strömstad Sweden on September 21 2022
Project Stardust Founder Jon Larsen discovered the first Swedish micrometeorites on a rooftop in Strömstad Sweden on September 21 2022. © Project Stardust, 2023.

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).

A scanning electron image of Swedish micrometeorite NMM 3820 which was discovered by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen in Strömstad
A scanning electron image of Swedish micrometeorite NMM 3820 which was discovered by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen in Strömstad. Image by Jon Larsen and Siri Simonsen. © Project Stardust, 2023.

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.

Yours truly,

Jon Larsen

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

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

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FIREBALL: Visitors from Darker Worlds

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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