Double snowflake

Double snowflake

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Credit: TED KINSMAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Double snowflake. Snowflakes are symmetrical ice crystals that form in calm air with temperatures near the freezing point of water. The exact shape of a snowflake depends on local climatic conditions, mainly air temperature and humidity. They typically have hexagonal symmetry. Rarely, a double snowflake will form, as seen here, with 12- fold symmetry. These snowflakes have branching star-shaped structures, and are called dendritic snowflakes. They form at around -15 degrees Celsius. No two snowflakes are identical, as each experiences a wide range of conditions as it forms inside a cloud.

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