Nature has always held my fascination. The most beautiful works of art I know are created by natural processes. The colours of plants and animals, the small wonders in rain and snow, the forces of winds and water. The painted skies in sunsets and sunrises, the show of a thunderstorm. The miracle of life. It is all leaving me astounded at all times.
Such as the beauty of snowflakes. A masterpiece not visible to the human eye, however under magnification, a geometry pattern appears so perfect in its creation.
There is nothing more magical then seeing snow falling during the month of December. And I recall fondly running outside as a child, trying to catch a snowflake into my hand. Never able to hold onto it, but watching it melt in my palm into a drop of water, with a sense of utter fascination. The flakes could be small, tiny, ice like, but then again, they could be large and fluffy, light as feather. They could come down slowly and lightly, or heavily and fast, landing on trees and sidewalks, making the landscape white, as if covered in whipped cream.
Even today, the best thing I know is to drive through a falling snow after dark, making me feel like I am moving through the darkness of outer space with light speed, passing galaxies and stars...
So what is a snowflake? Snowflakes are really ice crystals that are formed in the clouds by water vapor. When the atmosphere's temperature dips to below 0 degrees Centigrade (32 degrees Fahrenheit), moisture changes to ice. Their formation depends on a variety of factors including air currents, humidity and temperature and even particles trapped in the water. All this contributes to the fact that no two snowflakes are exactly alike, even though there is no scientific reason that prevents it. This is similar to the human fingerprint.
Snowflakes can be categorized into six main types, plate (flat), column, stars, dendrite (lacy), needle, and capped column. When it is extremely cold the snow is very fine and powdery and snowflakes become quite simple in design, usually needle or rod shaped. When the temperature is near to freezing point (0 degrees Celsius), snowflakes become much larger and a lot more complex in design, for example, a star.
The largest snowflake recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records fell at Fort Keogh, Montana and was 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick.
For more beautiful pictures such as these posted here, of magnified genuine snowflakes, please visit SnowCrystals.com