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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What Do You Know About Snow?

Did you know that every snowflake is unique?

When I stared out my window and watched the millions of flakes fall to the ground during the blizzards of 2010, I really found it hard to believe that every single flake was different from the next. For hours and hours the snow came, but as I have learned from Wilson A. “Snowflake” Bentley each flake was indeed different.

Bentley, a self-educated farmer from Vermont, pioneered the field of photomicrography. Photomicrography, the practice of photographing of very small objects, was achieved by using a camera with a microscope. In his lifetime, Bentley photographed over 5,000 snowflakes, a difficult task since they melt so quickly, and never found two snowflakes that were alike! Bentley donated a collection of 500 photographs to the Smithsonian in 1903.

See what else you can learn about snow in our Smithsonian collections!

*Pictured: A microphotograph of a "Dendrite Star" by Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, circa 1890.


  1. I really your photos of snowflakes. I love the close ups of those in your slideshow view:

  2. This is a much better idea for combatting cabin fever than the ones I thought up while home during this monstrous blizzard! Thanks for the beauty.