Snowflakes

"It's like shuffling a deck and getting the exact same shuffle for 52 cards. You could shuffle every second for the entire life of the universe, and you wouldn't come close to getting two of the same." - Kenneth Libbrecht, a physics professor at the California Institute of Technology and avid snowflake photographer

Snowflake 9D5650

Snowflake 9D5650

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Snowflake 9D5652

"(Snowflakes) are formed from water vapor that condenses directly into ice inside of clouds. They take shape as water vapor molecules from cloud droplets condense and freeze on the surface of a seed crystal, and patterns emerge as these crystals grow. The seed crystal itself forms on a tiny particle, like a speck of dust in the air, which serves as a base for ice growth. Water molecules are ultimately responsible for the familiar six-sided shape we associate with snowflakes. Temperature and humidity are the two main factors that influence how the crystalline structure forms. If the temperature and humidity level changes, so does the growth pattern of the crystal. At low humidity you get simple plates and simple hexagonal blocks, Libbrecht said. At higher humidity, more branched structures." - Julia Griffin, December 22, 2011, PBS NewsHour, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/12/the-science-of-snowflakes.html

Snowflake 9M9878

Snowflake 9M9878

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Snowflake 9M9880