Light micrograph of a snow crystal

Light micrograph of a snow crystal

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Credit: KENT WOOD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Snowflake. Light micrograph of a snowflake. Snow crystals exhibit a characteristic hexagonal symmetry. The structure of frozen water molecules means that an hexagonal lattice is the only stable crystalline form. A perfect snow crystal would be a regular hexagon, but a variety of meteorological factors lead to imperfections, causing beautiful branching shapes. As no two snow crystals are subjected to exactly the same conditions, no two form identical shapes. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: branching, christmas, climate, cold, crystal, crystalline, freezing ice crystal, frozen, frozen water, hexagon, hexagonal stellar shape, ice, meteorology, snow, snow crystal, snowflake, symmetrical structure, symmetry unique, weather, winter, winter weather

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