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The Beauty of a Single Snowflake

Is there anything more wonderful than sitting in the comfort of your home by a warm fire, and watching snowflakes drop outside your window?  This month, let’s take a look at the miracle and beauty of a single snowflake!

In the late 1800’s, a man named Wilson Bentley loved winter and studied snowflakes.  He loved them so much that he was dubbed “Snowflake Bentley”.  Many people thought him peculiar because he spent much of his life attempting to photograph a single snowflake. On January 15, 1885, he succeeded and took a picture of a single snowflake through his microscope. That was only the beginning!  By the end of his life, he had taken more than 5,000 pictures of snowflakes and discovered that no two were alike. His pictures were acquired by colleges and universities around the world and he published many articles for journals and magazines.

So how does and snowflake form and what is it made of?  Clouds consist of water vapor. When the temperature is too cold to form rain drops, a snowflake forms. The creation of a snowflake starts when a very tiny ice crystal, or snow crystal forms from water vapor condensing around a speck of dust or dirt in the atmosphere. As the snow crystal grows and gets heavier, it begins to fall earthward.

Temperature, humidity, and air currents will help decide the size and shape of a snowflake.  Also, the amount of dust and dirt will also effect its shape.  It may collide and combine with other snow crystals to form bigger snowflakes.

Snowflakes can be:

  • Star-shaped
  • Star-shaped with dentrites (feathery branches)
  • Columnar-shaped
  • Columnar-shaped with capped ends
  • Needle-shaped
  • Plate-shaped
  • Irregular

So the next time you are lucky enough to see snow, take time to appreciate the beauty and miracle of a single snowflake.  Until next month...

The Legend of the Snowflake

Long, Long ago a shining star led the way to a CHILD born in a manager,

It is believed that snowflakes are pieces of that gleaming star

That guides us to the Light of the World, Our Lord Jesus Christ!

May you and your family have a Blessed Holiday Season!