A snowflake is considered one of God’s most fragile creations. Psalm 147:16 begins: “He sends the snow like white wool” (NLT). And there actually is one thing superior about freshly fallen, white snow overlaying the whole lot. It actually is sort of a blanket of white wool unfold over the earth.
In actual fact, as a result of snow is comprised of 90 to 95 p.c trapped air, when it covers the bottom, it retains the whole lot beneath it heat. That’s why so many animals tunnel into the snow to hibernate or burrow into the bottom to get snug beneath the snow throughout winter. It’s additionally the explanation that igloos may be a lot hotter inside than exterior.
Snow occurs — whether or not you prefer it or not
Whenever you ask a baby what snow is, you’re more likely to get solutions like chilly, white, moist, enjoyable. Or possibly shiny, sparkly, fairly. And it’s. However older people usually have a unique perspective. As we age, we are likely to view snow as a burden or a chore, quite than one thing to be loved.
Falling snow generally jogs my memory of childhood — of my sister and me bundled up like a few human marshmallows with pink noses and cheeks and moist gloves, damp, however not chilly, constructing a snowman or making snow sculptures within the yard. I can recall crawling inside an “igloo” that I’d constructed (Really, it was extra like a bit cave) and pretending that I used to be an actual Eskimo.
Even the youngsters that didn’t like winter had been completely satisfied when faculty closed for a snow day. Particularly after they didn’t have their homework prepared.
And I can recall a buddy’s younger granddaughter, a number of years in the past, evaluating snowflakes to little, white angels after which simply falling backwards into the snow to make a “huge” snow angel.
Today, I take pleasure in seeing a lovely cardinal or blue jay foraging within the freshly-fallen snow beneath the feeders. And I just like the stillness; the quiet after it snows. And that’s not imagined. As a result of it’s so porous, snow is a pure sound buffer.
Within the eyes of most individuals, snow would possibly seem to be nothing. However a more in-depth look reveals that snow or, extra exactly, snowflakes are actually fairly extraordinary.
By easy definition, snow varieties when water vapor (not liquid water) within the clouds condenses and freezes into ice crystals (a crystal is a strong substance that has flat surfaces and sharp corners), usually round a particle, or nanoparticle, of filth. The ice crystals might stay within the clouds or, in the event that they’re heavy sufficient, fall to the bottom.
Particular person ice crystals fuse with different ice crystals to type snowflakes. The crystals usually develop in fractal and jagged patterns. Hypothetically, each snowflake created could have six, more-or-less identically formed segments. They’re an exquisite instance of symmetry in nature. In actual fact, when all is claimed and carried out, when you might fold a snowflake in half, the 2 sides would, for all intents and functions, match.
In 1611, German astronomer, mathematician and physicist Johannes Kepler (Kepler’s three legal guidelines of planetary movement), authored “The Six-Cornered Snowflake,” by which he puzzled: “Why do snowflakes when they’re falling and earlier than they change into entangled and type bigger snowflakes, have six corners and are clustered like feathers.” The essay fashioned a foundation for the examine and understanding of crystal buildings. Centuries later, thanks to advances in science, a few of his speculations turned better-understood and would finally be confirmed.
In 1885, Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, a self-educated Vermont farmer, took a high-resolution image of a snowflake utilizing a bellows digicam with a microscope mounted inside. The method, referred to as photomicrography, which Bentley pioneered, allowed him to take photos of particular person snowflakes. And, over the course of his life, he took photos of greater than 5,000 snowflakes.
The physics of snowflakes
Apparently, snowflakes are minerals. Based on Dr. Jeffrey Put up, Curator in Cost of Gems and Minerals on the Smithsonian Institute’s Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past, “Snowflakes are single crystals of ice and ice is principally a mineral that melts at a decrease temperature than different minerals do.” In different phrases, snow has the entire primary parts of a mineral.
— Are naturally occurring: Snowflakes type naturally when water freezes in chilly air.
— Are inorganic: Snowflakes aren’t carbon compounds. They’re inorganically fashioned.
— Have a definable, or particular chemical composition: Snowflakes are made of 1 materials, H2O.
— Have an ordered inner construction: Snowflakes have a definite association of atoms in a lattice.
— Are homogeneous: Snowflakes are fabricated from ice and are the identical by and thru.
— Are strong: Ice is certainly strong.
Rising snowflakes within the lab
California Institute of Know-how Professor of Physics Kenneth Libbrecht has been referred to as half physicist, half artist. He research the molecular dynamics of crystal progress, together with how ice crystals develop from water vapor. And he’s been creating snowflakes beneath managed situations, inside a selfmade snowflake-creation-chamber, for many years. He’s made hundreds of them. And he’s written a number of books on the topic; every containing jaw-dropingly outstanding images of his lab-created snowflakes.
Snowflakes can get fairly huge
Although supporting proof is proscribed, in keeping with the Guinness E book of World Information, the most important mixture snowflake ever reported fell in Fort Keogh, Montana in January of 1887 and (allegedly) was 15 inches (38.1 cm) large and 8 inches (20.32 cm) thick. The rancher who noticed it described it as “bigger than milk pans.”