are not magnets - they won't attract paper clips or pins. Most (>95%)
irons), however, will attract a magnet because they contain a lot of iron-nickel metal.
Some of the
rarest kinds of meteorites (achondrites, lunar meteorites, martian
meteorites) do not attract magnets because they contain little or no metal.
Most terrestrial (Earth) rocks also do not attract magnets for the same
reason. Some earth rocks do
attract magnets, however, because they contain the mineral magnetite.
A good way
to test if a rock is attracted to a magnet is with a circular ceramic
magnet like those often used for "refrigerator magnets." Put it
on its edge on a flat, hard surface. If a rock attracts a magnetic, you can
cause the magnet to roll by pulling the magnet with the rock.
Don't use a
neodymium (rare earth) magnet. Those things are so strong that they will
attract many kinds of terrestrial†
rocks. An ordinary chondrite will respond to a simple refrigerator
Throw away your rare earth
magnet. Iron meteorites are strongly attracted to even weak magnets.
If you have a rock that does attract a magnet, then it's
probably not a meteorite because magnetite-rich Earth rocks are much more common
than meteorites. Cut or break it open. If it has lots of metal flecks or
veins like these ordinary chondrites, then it might be a meteorite (but industrial
slags sometimes contain metal).
If you have a rock that does not attract a magnetic, it could be a meteorite, but the
probability is exceedingly small because nonmagnetic Earth rocks are more
common than any kind of achondritic meteorite.