Best Beach Activities: Collect Stardust!

It’s dusty out there in our Solar system. Every day up to 100 tons of cosmic dust falls to earth, mostly micrometeorite particles that have collided with our planet every day since its creation, leaving a surprising amount of debris. It is possible to collect a few of these meteor particles because they are composed of nickel and iron, substances attracted to a magnet, and a sandy beach is one of the best places to find them.  Stardust is everywhere–if you don’t live near the shore, beaches beside lakes have micrometeorites too.

What you will need:

Strong magnet (available at hardware stores)

Plastic sandwich size bag

Magnifying glass

Place the magnet in the plastic bag and drag it through dry sand at the beach. You will collect an amazing amount of what looks like black salt. Turn the bag inside out and rub the bits from the magnet back into the bag. Look at the bits under the magnifying glass. Around twent per cent of these pieces are tiny micrometerorites. Stardust in your hand!


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