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Captivating Microscopic Time-Lapse Video Captures the Formation of Snowflakes


This is just plain beautiful, no matter which way you slice it. Using the magic of time-lapse photography and microscopy, Vyacheslav Ivanov captured the formation of those ice crystals we call snowflakes that caused so much grief in the northeastern US over the past several weeks.

Mesmerizing, captivating, pick your adjective, the time-lapse will have you glued to the screen and help you to remember that this crazy world we live in is beautiful from the smallest scale on up.


Robert Gonzalez over at iO9 gave us a crash course on snowflake formation to help the science lovers in the audience understand what exactly we’re looking at:

The ice crystal(s) in snowflakes owe their six-fold rotational symmetry to the hydrogen bonds in water molecules. As water freezes, water molecules bound to other water molecules crystallize into a hexagonal structure, where each point on the hexagon is an oxygen atom and each side of the hexagon is a hydrogen bonded to an oxygen. As freezing continues, more water molecules are added to this microscopic six-sided structure, causing it to grow in size into the six-sided macroscopic structure that we recognize as snow flakes.

Of course, you don’t need to know what it is or how it’s formed to appreciate the stunning microscopic footage above. So whether you’re still recovering from a crazy Saturday night or preparing for the week to come, click play and make sure you set the window to fullscreen and HD.

(via iO9 via Photojojo)