Looking up - 24 January 2020

How old is the dust in your house? Possibly not as old as the oldest material found on planet Earth to date: grains of dust analysed from the Murchison meteorite which fell in Australia in 1969. It was recently found that this dust is 7 billion years old! This is thought to relate to a period of stellar evolution some 7 billion years ago in our galaxy, which produced star dust some 2 billion years or so later. More fascinating is how smelly this material is. Yes, astronomers sometimes have to deal with rotten peanut butter, boiled brussels sprouts and methylated spirits. So it's not all sugar and spice and all things nice out there.