Snowflakes photographed by new high-speed camera


[WIND] NARRATOR: Ever since the Victorian era, snowflakes have been revered as perfectly symmetrical six-sided crystals. Believed to be as perfect and pure as the heavens from which they descend. But what if this divine image just…melted away? ♪ MUSIC ♪ It’s 1885 in Vermont’s wintry terrain. 20-year-old Wilson Bentley is fascinated by snowflakes. So he attaches a camera to his parents’ microscope to capture a photo of one. After countless attempts, he finally gets a clear picture. Thousands of pictures later and Bentley’s collection is dominated by what comes to be our iconic view of snowflakes – each perfectly symmetrical yet unique. Bentley even coins the phrase “no two snowflakes are alike.” Across the Atlantic, German meteorologist Gustav Hellmann and his associate Richard Neuhauss are photographing snowflakes as well. However their photos reveal something entirely different. While each snowflake is unique, many are irregularly shaped. Imperfect. It’s said that Hellmann accused Bentley of altering certain photos. Bentley countered that any alterations were to remove dust particles or debris from the snowflake photo to show the flake as true to nature as possible. It’s now present day in the snowy mountains of Utah. An area that thrives on winter tourism. It’s here that NSF-funded engineer Cale Fallgatter and atmospheric scientist Tim Garrett have revolutionized the process of capturing photos of snowflakes. To better study their fleeting existence. Predicting how winter storms will affect us depends on how we measure what falls out of them. But current methods are imprecise. Fallgatter and Garrett have developed a high-speed camera system specifically designed to provide the clearest pictures ever of freefalling snowflakes. They call their system the Present Weather Imager, the PWI. Composed of a single industrial grade 1.3 megapixel camera and a built in computer, the PWI uses an infrared motion sensor to photograph single snowflakes as small as 100 micrometers. A fleeting moment in time exists to gather data on a single snowflake. In the clouds…too soon. On the ground…and it’s too late. So the PWI doesn’t isolate or disturb the snowflakes. It waits for the perfect time, photographing them as they fall to the ground. Mid-air. Unaltered. Providing data on a snowflake’s size, shape, orientation and even the speed at which it falls. And if researchers understand all of this…they can determine exactly what type of snow formed in the clouds above. Snowflakes have brief but complicated lives. They start when a super-cooled water droplet freezes around a speck of dust. This process alone results in Wilson Bentley’s famous six-sided crystal. But it’s difficult to discover one of these on the ground… Because as a snowflake falls, it collides and freezes with other water droplets. A process known as “riming,” resulting in a little ice pellet called a “graupel”…the hard packing snow. If a snowflake manages to dodge these water droplets, it will likely later collide with other snowflakes to form something entirely different. An “aggregate”… the light fluffy snow. So the PWI (Present Weather Imager) photographs falling precipitation and then classifies every single photo. Aggregate, graupel, sleet, ice, rain. Each type of precipitation affects road conditions differently. Projecting these, especially around the freezing point, is a current problem. But with the PWI’s data, local transportation departments could issue better weather warnings. With the potential to save lives. The PWI also captures nature in its purest form. Common among snowflake photographers, Bentley hand selected the most attractive snowflakes to photograph and rejected those less photogenic. What Bentley and many others did was spark the public’s fascination and curiosity about snowflakes, leading to the PWI’s modern day answer to how to capture a snowflake. ♪ MUSIC ♪

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100 thoughts on “Snowflakes photographed by new high-speed camera

  1. Well, that's kind of disappointing…all those Christmas decorations based on things that don't really exist most of the time. Obviously nobody would use decorations that looked like the real things when they're just lumps and messy blobs. Oh well.

  2. I wrote a paper on Bentley back in grade school. He was an awesome guy to write a paper on. I've recently thought about writing another on him and his findings. Btw, one of the problems he had was that he had to stay outside to photograph them, and he couldn't breathe when he took the photo or else the flake would melt. I think he died of pneumonia? I don't really remember.

  3. Last weekend I was looking at used cars and I noticed on one black car hundreds of perfect snowflakes. So like any amazed person I took several pictures

  4. Is it true that when a snow flake thaws and is then re frozen,it goes back to its original shape !?❄lovely music..

  5. Hahahaaa cracking up. The conditions have to be very dry and if you handle the flakes at all they CAN and do melt or break. But the actual flakes in dry conditions? Gorgeous. Seen it with my own eyes. NOT the slushy stuff that melts on its way down

  6. This video has a biased view of the camera user. The snowflakes depends upon location, EMF radiation, air pollution, temperature, and Geo-magnetic aberrations caused by cosmic fields.

  7. Where I live we are too close to the sea level so we rarely get snow. In fact it has only snowed twice in my lifetime.

    I remember as a child, the first time it showed, one had landed perfectly on a few single strands of my sister's fringe where it could be viewed easily. It was completely symmetrical and a rather big snowflake too. Such a gorgeous sight. Sadly it only lasted a mere few seconds before melting. We tried our best to find more but the rest were just mush.

  8. The reason some snowflakes are mishaped is because some collide with other snowflakes once formed, I know this because when I studied snowflakes, the mishaped ones were a bigger mass and upon close inspection were a group of perfectly formed snowflakes, and you "CAN" let them fall on a black surface on your window ledge with a decent magnifying glass alone to see this, try it for yourself… 😉

  9. 4:47–4:59 sounded like one of those interdimensional cabe segment for the plumbus from Rick and Morty lmao 🤣

  10. From an editing perspective I thoroughly enjoyed this video. The music and the way the man spoke were matched perfectly. The way the science was presented did not destroy the beauty and mystery of the snowflake, but even enhanced it. Very pleasing video, will send to all my friends!

  11. I can't wait to meet God on judgement day or when I die and get to hear how he made this crazy world we live in

  12. The weather is so strange here in north Italy that it snows in 8 degrees… but the snowflakes are so tiny.

  13. Person takes a photo of a snowflake in the 1800s, now 200 years later scientists are trying to create a special camera to take a picture of the snowflake…

  14. 4:09 all values shown fall under which condition?
    Very useful and excellent.
    Both regular & irregular shapes can help us predicating the intensities of weather, probably!

  15. When I was a little girl my mother n I saw a snowflake that fell in my hand it was huge… N it was beautiful ❄ I still remember it. One of the most memorable moments I have ever had with my mom

  16. Smile @2:26 is sooo caucasian.just an observation i made.blacks in US And Africa on the other hand have a full grin with teeth and a hearty laughter.The latter is more welcoming.

  17. Wah…. Its so beautiful…. Its like i want to touch it cause it looks like its soft…. And i didnt experience snow cause im from philippines and we dont have snow here 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

  18. If there are no 2 snowflakes alike, there can be 3 or more alike. Right? Right? I knew it! With the crazy amount of snowflakes, how could they not ran out of designs? Lol

  19. He pronounced 'W' as 'dabbyu' isn't it 'dablyu' tho? Or is it that all my life I'm living in a lie???😐😐😐

  20. Wow it’s beautiful! I enjoyed the video. By the way at the end of the video where you wrote the credits I coudn’t find these background songs… Can you give links to their site?

  21. I was at college in Pitt there was one time where snow was falling and every single one was perfectly shaped. It was amazing. Usually you can't see them, but conditions were perfect and I could see each one on my car and my fingertips before it melted.

  22. Friends Jesus is coming back, the rapture is about to take place and God does not want you to be left behind to suffer the many horrors that are about to take place on this earth. Salvation is found in Jesus and Jesus Christ alone. The bible says in romans 10:9-13 "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Jesus said in John 3:5-8
    "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” jesus did not die so we could follow religion. Its about a relationship. If you draw near to Jesus he will draw near to you. Please repent of your sins and say the sinners prayer below if you want to be saved. Time is running out. God bless you. Jesus loves you. Please say the prayer below if you wish to receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Its the best decision that you could ever make because you were created to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the one who died for you and God has prepared a wonderful place in heaven for those who love him.

    "Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door of my heart when I hear you knocking. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I now invite you to come into my heart and forgive me of my sins. I love you Jesus. Amen

  23. Just skimmed the comments. WOW!! There are a lot of extremely angry, even hateful, political views about frozen water falling from the sky. Was not expecting that!

  24. ❄️ You get the really beautiful ones when its really cold, then they gently fall on the soft snow in perfect beautiful star shapes, I spent my childhood catching them on my hands, face and tounge feeling the cold pinprick as it melts almost instantly 😊 🌨 Greetings from Sweden, one who knows ☃❤️

  25. Science created ALL humans. MEN created an imagined 'GOD' and then 'Godly' morals and tales to keep ALL humans who believe in that 'GOD' frightened of being ONLY HUMAN.
    Science is never pure, nor perfect. Science is what creates fight or flight, which makes YOU, human.
    A human created by Science.

  26. Lord God Almighty, marvelous are thy works. You simply spoke snows in existence, and they are. oh that men should fear the Lord! From Your snow treasury, You send us snows beautifully different from the other, marvelous are thy works. oh let men fear the Lord.

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