A Look Inside a Meteorite
Ever wonder what a meteorite looks like inside? These image were made in cross-polarized light, where a polarizer between the light source and the microscope slide is rotated. The beautiful effect, called birefringence, causes the colors of the crystals in the meteorite’s minerals to change, creating amazing colors, as the polarizer is rotated.
Astronomers and planetary geologists study meteorites in thin section to determine their material makeup. The colors and angles of refraction of the light through the crystals help identify the crystals. Some of the material inside meteorites are quite likely as old as, or older than, the Earth itself.
1,2) The Allende meteorites (named after a pueblito in Mexico called Allende where they fell in 1969) contain interstellar dust particles which are thought to be the oldest unaltered particles in our Solar System.
3) This meteorite is called NWA 4292 and was found in the Sahara Desert in Africa in 2005.