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Widmanstätten pattern



A triangular (octahedral) pattern that occurs only in iron meteorites. Named after Alois von Widmanstätten who found this pattern in 1804. It is formed of the nickel content in the minerals kamacite and taenite as well as some plessite. The amount of nickel determines the breadth of this pattern. The pattern becomes visible by searing with a mixture of saltpetre acid and alcohol.



Taenite



An iron-nickel mineral that is found in almost all meteorites that consist of from 27 to 65 % nickel.



Troilite



A copper-coloured iron sulphide that is found in almost all meteorites.



SNC meteorites



A collective name for meteorites from Mars. The name stands for shergotite, nakhlite and chassignite.



Plessite



An iron-nickel mineral that is found in almost all meteorites.



Olivine



A green silicate material with a high magnesium content, and is a common component of stone meteorites.



Pallasite



A stone-iron meteorite that comes from the crust of a planet. They contain clear, beautiful olivine crystals, are in great demand and are expensive. The name originates from a German naturalist named Peter Simon Pallas, who in 1755 first studied this type of meteorite in Russia.



Octahedrites



An iron meteorite that mainly consists of iron and up to 16 % nickel. It has a triangular octahedral pattern (cubic crystal system).



Neumann lines



Thin stripes in an iron meteorite with a nickel content of less than 5-6 %. The stripes become visible by searing with a mixture of saltpetre acid and alcohol.



Meteorite



A stone from space found on earth. The name itself, “meteorite”, originates from the Greek word “meteoron” which means “phenomena from heaven”.



Meteoride



Small stone objects that move around in our own solar system.



Meteor



A glowing “shooting star” in the sky, being a stone from space.



Kamacite



A nickel-iron mineral that is found in almost all meteorites. 7.5 % nickel content.



Hexahedrite



An iron meteorite with little nickel content of only 5-6 %. Forms no Widmanstätten pattern, but narrow stripes called Neumann lines.



HED meteorites



Stands for howardite, eucrite and diogenite, and comes from large asteroids such as Vesta.



Chondrule



Small circular granules in most stone meteorites. They are formed as drops early in the formation of the solar system. The normal size is from 0.1 to 5 millimetres. The name originates from the Latin “chondrus” which means corn or circles.



Burnt surface



A black crust on fresh meteorites, formed because the meteorite has become burnt on passing through the atmosphere.



Carbonaceous meteorite



Rare stone meteorites that also contain carbon and components of amino acids.



Chondrite



Stone meteorites that have chondrules (therefore the name), and are the commonest kind of meteorite.



Ataxite



An iron meteorite with a high nickel content. Due to this there is no Widmanstätten pattern.



Asteroid



An object in space that is smaller than a planet Many move in their own orbit. In size they are from some tens of metres to several hundred kilometres.



Asteroid belt



Between Mars and Jupiter there is an enormous belt of millions of stones and asteroids. A planet has been in the process of forming here, but the strong force of gravity from Jupiter has prevented the formation of a planet.



Achondrite



A stone meteorite without chondrules. They are rare and originate from large asteroids, Mars or the moon.




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