Collecting Meteorites: All You Need To Know About Building Your Collection
You may not have known this, but meteorites actually rain on the earth every hour. The thing is that most of them are small, perhaps the size of a grain of rice. Some are not more than particles of dust in size. The average sized meteorites are hardly a quarter of the width of your hair. The rest are referred to micrometeorites, and they rain down in tons every day. It’s no surprise people hardly notice them.
The good part is that they fall on practically everything and so you can collect some if you want.
If you’ve had an interest in collecting meteorites, you can develop the habit yourself without spending a penny.
- A plastic wrap.
- A cookie sheet.
- A piece of paper.
- A Magnet.
- A Magnifying glass or even a microscope.
After you’ve put all these things in place, line the cookie sheet with your plastic wrap. Make sure you fold the edges properly under using the cookie sheet. If you do not, it may get blown away by the wind. Now place it outside in a place without any shelter, so it faces the sky directly. Leave the sheet outdoors for seven days minimum. By the time you take it back in, you’ll notice that the plastic would be covered with different sorts of debris. If there was any rainfall within the seven days, then it’s sure to be full of water too. In this case, straining the water through your sieve would help you get rid of all the large debris like; bugs and leaves.
Now it’s time to use your magnet. Wrap a piece of paper over the end of the magnet. Now discreetly run the magnet through what is left. The piece of paper you wrapped over the magnet would make easier for you to remove anything that sticks to the magnet.
If you don’t like this method, you can anchor two magnets over a downspout of any rain gutter. So that the water from the rain will pour over them. Wait for say- a couple of weeks then go ahead and check them.
You would see some particles sticking to the magnet. There you have it; these particles are the remnants of meteoroids which disintegrated in the upper atmosphere.
The reason they stick to the magnet is that most of them have nickel or iron in them. Observe the particles through a magnifying glass or your microscope.
This is the easiest way to start collecting meteorites in your backyard. It’s really not that stressful. This only marks the beginning of your journey.
So maybe you really do want to start collecting, but you don’t have the time and energy to collect them on your own. The simple solution is to buy them from a verified vendor. You can decide to pick a particular focus area.
- Historical specimens
In this case, you would collect your meteorites according to how old they are or the great stories you’ve heard about them.
- Type of collection
This is another great way to start building your collection. You do it based on the classification(scientific) of the specimens.
- Aesthetic shapes
This one is pretty straightforward; go for the best-looking meteorites.
In this case, you build a collection of meteorites based on the witnessed falls. That is to say; you collect based on proof that people actually saw them fall. Any meteoroid that wasn’t witnessed falling doesn’t belong in this collection.
- Slices and end cut
This has to do with making a collection of only specimens that have slices and end cuts through which you can observe their interior.
- Individuals and fragments
This has to do with collecting meteorites that are still intact and whole.
You can decide to start a collection based on geographical location. This way, you’ll only collect meteorites that are obtainable within a specific state or country. Places like Texas, Europe, Australia, China or Northwest Africa are the good options if you want to collect according to geographical location.
There are a variety of tips that can help you build your collection of meteorites. After you have thought of how to collect them and what categories to use, then you should find time to figure out some storage and preservation methods.
Some tips to help you with storage and preservation include;
- Tip for storage and display
The best way to store your specimen is in transparent containers with printer labels. You can place them in your bookcase or on your shelf for display, especially when the sizes are impressive.
- Tip for labeling
This part is imperative to maintaining specimen value. All containers should be labeled. If you purchased them, they would most likely come with ID cards that link them to the previous owner or even the dealer. Some may even come with more than one card. Make sure you keep these cards safe.
- Tip on security
These meteorites are very valuable, especially when you’ve built a large collection. It is important that you store it in a secure space. Try and catalog and photograph your collection so you would be able to know when and what was stolen in just in case of a break in. You can walk the extra mile to get them insured.
Being a meteorite collector is an amazing thing. Hopefully, these tips can help you during your own experience as a collector.