Micrometeorites project

Scope of the project

60 To 100 tons of microscopic and sub-millimetre cosmic dust (micrometeorites) fall to Earth every day; most of these particles are magnetic and can be collected with a strong magnet. Microscopic examination is required to sort true micrometeorites from other atmospheric particles. The ‘fall rate’ is too low to collect micrometeorites in a tray in the garden, but they can be extracted from areas where debris from large surface areas accumulates – flat roofs and guttering from roofs, rainwater gullies etc.

Participants will collect a standardised volume of ‘dust’ from around their home environment – gutters, patios etc. and use a strong magnet to sort through the debris.

Project duration

Six months.

Data recording methods

Numerical results can be communicated by e-mail or letter; photomicrographic recording of micrometeorites is strongly encouraged.

Project specific equipment required

Neodymium magnets will be provided to the first 100 participants to enroll in the project who require one.

Stereomicroscope

Guidance on identification of micrometeorites will be provided in the project fact sheet. Members may wish to buy their own copy of On the Trail of Stardust: The Guide to Finding Micrometeorites: Tools, Techniques, and Identification by Jon Larson. Alternatively the project fact sheet lists Internet resources to aid identification.

Project lead

This project will be led by Phil Greaves; for a project fact sheet or to participate please use the contact form below or write to 4 Combe Common Cottages, Woodside Road, Chiddingfold, Surrey, GU8 4QR. Participation is open to overseas members.

You can use this form to send an e-mail to Phil Greaves:

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