Zoomed-in snowflakes: Beautiful shapes are formed in your everyday snow

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN — It’s true when they say no two snowflakes are alike and that applies from our most recent snow as well! Each picture included in this gallery is 100X zoomed-in from what the human eye can see.

Hexagonal Plate Snowflake

Broken off Fernlike Stellar Dendrite Snowflake

Sectored Plate Snowflake

Radiating Plates Snowflake

Radiating Plates Snowflake

Generally, snowflakes have six or three sides but how come? It has to do with the molecular shape of water. Two hydrogen molecules combine with an oxygen molecule to form a V shape. Supercooled water molecules are floating around all over the clouds and aggregate onto one another in the right circumstances. The six-sided shape is the most efficient and strongest way for these water molecules to form up. As a result, beautiful shapes are formed in your everyday snow!

Once the flakes fall to the ground they’re often busted into pieces or compact over time. The best place to see these structures without a microscope is generally near mountainous terrain where the flakes don’t fall as far from the cloud and don’t have a chance to break up.

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