The Insides of Meteorites Are Nature's Stained Glass

On the outside meteorites look like volcanic rocks. But astronomy photographer Jeff Barton cracks them open to reveal the glittering geodes inside.

Barton—who is the director of Sciences at Cowell, Texas's Three Rivers Foundation—calls the innards of space debris "natural stained glass." He's been collecting these gems since 2004. The photos from this set are from the Allende Meteorites, which rained on the Mexican state of Chihuahua in 1969.

To capture the stunning shots of meteorite guts, Barton cuts the rocks open with a rock saw with a diamond-coated blade. He'll then grind down a stamp-sized piece so thin light can pass through it, like sun through the windows of a cathedral. Photos are subsequently taken with polarizing filters and a DSLR attached to a petrographic microscope. Aren't they just beautiful? I wish I could wear one on a necklace.

The Insides of Meteorites Are Nature's Stained Glass

The Insides of Meteorites Are Nature's Stained Glass

The Insides of Meteorites Are Nature's Stained Glass

It gets better, too, because Barton has made some meteorite animations as well.

The Insides of Meteorites Are Nature's Stained Glass

The Insides of Meteorites Are Nature's Stained Glass

You can gawk over all 102 images of meteorites from Barton's collection on his Flickr page. [Jeff Barton via FastCo via DesignTaxi]

All images via Jeff Barton