Several times every year, the sky falls in.

Well, bits of it do - regular and predictable meteor showers happen all round the world, leaving burning trails across the sky as friction burns them away to nothing.

Or does it?

It may be romantic to name an anonymous dot in the sky after your loved one, but how about catching a real "fallen star" for them?

Step 1: What You Need:

I'm sure you've realised that, when I say "fallen star", I really mean "meteorite". You hadn't? Well, you do now.

To catch the meteorites, you will need:

  • Magnets in a plastic bag
  • String

To view the meteorites, you will need:

  • A pair of non-magnetic forceps or tweezers - it is possible to manage with nimble fingers, but you are more likely to lose any interesting samples.
  • A microscope slide, preferably with a concave depression to stop things rolling away.
  • Clear nail varnish or "super" glue (CA glue, crazy glue)
  • A narrow-nibbed permanent marker.
  • A microscope.
<em><br /> You then need rain.</em><br /> I&nbsp;would suppose that &quot;snow&quot; would do just as well <div id="refHTML">&nbsp;</div>
I'm not sure - the idea is that the rain washes the meteorites into a convenient place to catch them.<br /> <br /> Maybe you can check the melt-water from a roof or a drainage ditch?<br /> <br /> <br />
<p>That's not really the reason that you do this after rain. In order for a rain drop to form, you need a &quot;nucleation site&quot; for the condensation to begin. In the atmosphere, that can be dust, dirt, pollution . . . or micrometeorites. Each drop of rain has a nucleation site in it. So, if you catch rain, some of the nucleation sites will be micrometeorites and then you can collect them with a magnet in a puddle. It's the same way that mentos and diet coke works. The mentos are nucleation sites for the bubbles to form. It's also the reason why you have to seed a sugar solution with a sugar crystal to grow rock candy. The small crystal is the nucleation site to grow large crystals. Snow also requires nucleation sites, so it should work too.</p>
<p>I think you misunderstood - it's the flowing rain, collecting dense material in a convenient location.</p>
Sure,&nbsp; even a rain barrel, catching melted snow might work (using the whole roof as a gathering area, but adding its own &quot;particles&quot; to the mix at the same time. ) <div id="refHTML">&nbsp;</div>
True.<br /> <br /> In fact, if you already have a rainbarrel, it may have been collecting them for several years, and already have a small collection in its depths!<br />
And,&nbsp; I am thinking that, at this time of year, if it would snow during or shortly after one, I&nbsp;may be able to just gather some snow off the ground.&nbsp; Since it appears it is going to be <em>too cloudy to see it</em> again this year. <div id="refHTML">&nbsp;</div>
I'd have thought that micrometeorites would make a good nucleation centre for ice - so surely there'd be more in snow?
I suppose for the smaller ones...... <br /> <div id="refHTML">&nbsp;</div>
This is AWESOME! Thanks KiteMan for adding this
Thank *you* for the kind comment!
I haven't read all of the replies, so disregard if someone posted this earlier. I read an article that said get a large pasteboard/cardboard box, cover the bottom with white paper or cardboard and put it in an open space, not covered, but protected, and leave it there for a while. The best time is during a meteor shower, about every two months, in the even months. The little black spots recovered are probably meteorites. Remember that tons of space particles hit the earth daily.
I am going to run this all winter, setting up a meteorite trap in a secluded space, then see what shows up in the spring.
I wish I knew how to verify with greater reliability whether they are micrometeorites. Anyway, here are some I found. The first one was a nice spherical one I lost. The third one is pretty but I am dubious if it's extraterrestrial. The second and third photos are at much higher magnification. In reality, they're as big as or smaller than the ball in the first photo. That's my excuse for even poorer focus. The photos were taken with point and shoot cameras hand-held to microscope eyepieces, with some loose-fitting adapters to make it easier. The first photo was with a Sony P100 through the 10X Huygens eyepiece that the microscope came with. The second and third photos were with a Canon G7 through a Rini 30mm telescope eyepiece, using my home-made <a href="http://prussastro.blogspot.com/2010/11/astronomy-gear-and-microscopy.html">telescope-to-microscope eyepiece adapter</a>.
The second image definitely looks meteoric to me - melted and then cooled in free-fall.
The last one has a bit of a melted look, but it didn't come through on the photo. The ball in the first one may be too uniform.
Yes, the first one may be molten iron from an earthly source, left in the ground for years before you fished it out with a magnet.
Today I tried using superglue to preserve a micrometeorite, but it crystallized in that nasty white way. I cleaned it off with acetone, and then just preserved them by putting them on a slide under a cover slip and taping the slip on. <br><br>Actually, I think it would look better on some white plastic rather than on glass--they looked better under the microscope when I put white cardboard under the slide. I was using a flashlight (and later reflected sunlight) to illuminate the slide.<br><br>I also found a nice trick for picking them up. You wet a toothpick with acetone. (Rubbing alcohol might work, too.) They stick for transit while the toothpick is wet, and come off easily because the acetone dries quickly.
Cool, thanks for that.
is that acually a meteorite Kiteman
Yup.<br><br>I'll have to do this again - I have some stronger magnets now.<br><br>
how is it posible though it looks really hard to do because i would like to do it but i dont have a pond
Hey, boy at the back!<br><br>Have you actually *read* the instructions? Like, the bit in step two that mentions puddles?<br><br>
Now i have thankyou
Daddy, it went in my eye.
Whoa. Fav'd.
Great idea! I will have to try it ;) Nice instructable.
Congratulations! You're in the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/12/catch_a_fallen_star.html">MAKE blog</a> for December!<br/>
Cool, thanks for spotting that!
Kinda reverses the order of the popular song...<br/><em>Catch a falling star</em><br/>put it in your pocket<br/>save it for a rainy day...<em></em><br/>
Haha, that's so true.
This is a really neat instructable! I like the way you've written it, but on a purely "geeky" level, how cool is this?! I'm thinking that my Cub Scouts would just LOVE this - finding micro-meteorites in puddles! What a great idea!
Thank you - I did it with my Science club, and it was popular at all levels (from <em>&quot;yeh! mud&quot;</em> all the way up to <em>&quot;cool, extra-terrestrial debris&quot;</em>).<br/>
Your fingers are as red as a red firetruck.
what color is a red firetruck?
I think they're an orange-ish color.
No. I think I know this one. Um... is it red?
no, i think its purple...
Both wrong, it is in fact it is rainbow!
why not?
why why not
White and/or yellow

About This Instructable




Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
More by Kiteman:Valentine's Heart FidgetCube Halloween Projects 
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