Snowflake, historical image

Snowflake, historical image

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This image is part of the feature The First Scientific Photographers

Credit: NOAA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Restrictions: This image may not be used to state or imply NOAA endorsement of any company or product

Caption: Snowflake. Light micrograph of a snowflake taken by Wilson Bentley (1865-1931). Bentley, a farmer from Vermont, USA, was the first person to successfully photograph snow flakes, taking the first photograph in 1885. He used a bellows camera attached to a light microscope. 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. Snowflakes typically have hexagonal symmetry. No two snowflakes are identical, as each experiences a wide range of conditions as it forms inside a cloud.

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