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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.


2 comments:

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

    http://collections.si.edu/search/viewer?fq=online_media_type:%22Images%22&q=Snowflake+Bentley&start=0&fq=online_visual_material:true&qt=sirisCSI

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  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.

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