Microscopic Snow Zoom

snowflakes2A wintery post of ephemeral images.

Snowflakes are made from up to 200 snowcrystals, which form around nucleation points (specs of dirt or pollen). For crystals to form around this nucleus the temperature has to be -35°C or below. The shape a snowcrystal takes is dependant on the temperature at which it forms, and may be up to 4mm in diameter.


Wilson A. Bentley was the first person to photograph a snowflake in 1885, using trial, error and an adapted microscope and mutated bellows camera.

Some of the first ever photographs of snowcrystals

Wilson Bentley, circa 1902.


These are some of the latest, taken in Dec 2008 by Mark Cassino

And using a scanning electron microscope for a different perspective.
Each image zooms into the white square of the previous image…
93x zoom

329x zoom

908x zoom

1860x zoom

3900x zoom

7000x zoom

18000x zoom

36000x zoom

…and a few more SEM images…

Hexagonal plate with dendritic extensions

Hexagonal snow crystal

Rimmed hexagonal snow crystal

Hexagonal dendrite

Stellar snow crystal

Snow after several days in snowpack

Image showing the differences between a conventional microscope, using photons (light) and a scanning electron microscope, using electrons, which renders everything opaque as it can’t see reflections or transparency.

Happy Christmas everyone**


5 thoughts on “Microscopic Snow Zoom”

  1. Gorgeous! I love this kind of macro stuff (although I can never work out when I should say micro or macro).

    I stole a couple of these images and reposted them over on my personal blog! Hope that’s ok :)

    Happy Christmas, and I owe you an email, which I will get round to at some point, but many thanks for sorting out the flac download stuff for me and I’m absolutely loving 0095.

    Is gas2 2298 available anywhere?

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