February 24th, 2020

Praxis: Search for meteorites

By Patty Rooks on February 15, 2020.


I don’t know if you heard or not, but scientists believe a meteorite may have landed near Medicine Hat last week; this is pretty exciting news for science enthusiasts such as myself! Meteorites are important for scientists to study as they are the only material evidence we can gather relatively easily that shows us there is a universe beyond Earth. Really though, it is not unusual for meteorites to land right in our own backyards, we just never see them. Really?? We had better investigate this further. Let’s get started!

* Remember to ask an adult before doing this experiment.


– magnet

– sheet of blank paper

– magnifying glass

– small paint brush

– jar or container


1. Find a place in your house (or if it is my house during the week – anywhere) where there are bits of dust and those fine particles sitting there. A good place to look may be near the furnace registers, door jambs or window screens even.

2. Use your brush and gently “sweep” these particles into your container.

3. Find a good sturdy work surface to work on.

4. Lay out a piece of blank white paper.

5. Slowly shake out the contents you collected from around the house in your container.

6. Take the paper and roll the particles around until they are in a thin layer in the middle.

7. Lift the paper and take the magnet and place it under the paper.

8. Move the magnet around.

9. What happens?

10. Separate out the magnetic pieces from the non magnetic pieces.

11. Use the magnifying glass and observe.

12. What is left over?

What is going on?

The particles that were left over from the dust in your house were magnetic, that is why you could separate them out with the magnet. It is believed that these pieces could be space dust. Use your magnifying glass to more accurately identify the particles. Meteorites often have rounded and putted surfaces. Did you find any pieces?

Is this really possible? Where does this come from you might ask. Well, when we go outside, we track dirt and dust back inside on our shoes and clothes. This is then left behind all over our house. If a meteorite landed where you were walking, you could have easily transferred pieces of it back inside.

It is not entirely impossible as tons of space dust and debris hit the Earth every day!

Patty Rooks, Senior Scientific Consultant PRAXIS, “Connecting Science To The Community”. Contact Praxis at praxis@praxismh.ca, http://www.praxismh.ca, Tweet or follow us @PraxisMedHat, or friend us on Facebook. Address: #12 826 11 Street S. E., Medicine Hat, Alberta, T1A 1T7 Phone: 403.527.5365, email: praxis@praxismh.ca.

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