New book reveals secret life of the snowflake

January 7th, 2009 - 5:00 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 7 (ANI): A new book showcases images of snowflakes that were collected and photographed through a microscope by the worlds leading snow crystal scientist.

According to a report in the Guardian, the scientist in question is Kenneth Libbrecht.

The images show snow crystals that fell on Northern Ontario, Alaska, Vermont, the Michigan Upper Peninsula, and the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, captured in the seconds after they fell to Earth.

The stellar dendrites featured in the book are the largest forms of snow crystals and perhaps the most beautiful, with the sectored plates coming in a close second.

But, there are also less photogenic simple prisms, columns, bullet shapes and needles and crystals that combine different types.

I begin by letting snow fall on to a collection board, which I then examine to find interesting specimens, writes Libbrecht in Snowflakes.

The most perfectly formed crystals are usually found during light snowfalls with little wind, when the weather is especially cold, he added.

Snow crystal growth depends on the temperature and pressure conditions in the cloud.

As the history of every crystal is different, and they can take several hours to fall to earth, their forms are infinitely varied.

There have been simple snow crystals that appear the same under a microscope. However at a molecular level, even these will be different.

According to Libbrecht, Each snowfall is a photographic adventure because each brings different crystals. And its true - no two are exactly alike. (ANI)

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