What REAL Snowflakes in Nature Look Like

Remember those gorgeous microscope images of symmetrical snow flakes that you see in science textbooks? The real thing is a bit different.

Researchers at the University of Utah utilized high speed cameras to shoot 3D images of snowflakes as they float to the ground. The camera, dubbed the Multi Angle Snowflake Camera, can take exposures as quick as 1/25,000th of a second. They discovered that most snowflakes in nature are complex clumps of many smaller flakes that stuck to each other.

The findings could be useful, too:

The images could be used to better understand snowfall and create a more accurate model of winter storms. One of the things weather simulations are not currently good at is predicting snowfall accurately. "The reason they do so badly is because they don't represent snowflakes very well, because they are based on measurements of snowflakes that were done, painstakingly, by hand in the 1970s,” Garrett explained. “They were able to collect maybe a few thousand snowflakes. I knew the guy who did it and he felt he needed to get glasses because of this project."

Read more about it over at Tech News Daily: Link


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