Photo by Alexey Kljatov
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
The Snowflake Strathspey
Each winter in the US, it is estimated that at least 1 septillion ice crystals fall from the sky! That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000—24 zeros! The ephemeral snowflake proves a challenge for photographers and scientists alike.
Snowflakes are more accurately termed snow crystals. They are formed from water vapor that condenses directly into ice inside of clouds. They take shape as water vapor molecules from cloud droplets condense and freeze on the surface of a seed crystal, and patterns emerge as these crystals grow. The seed crystal itself forms on a tiny particle, like a speck of dust in the air, which serves as a base for ice growth.
Depending on the temperature and humidity at which they form, snow crystals form into different shapes. Scientists have categorized the crystal structures of solid precipitation into 39 different categories, including 35 which are categorized as snow crystals or snowflakes!
Atoms and molecules can hook up in different ways and, in the case of water, they like to hook up into a hexagonal lattice, which gives the crystal its sixfold symmetry.
Note: Snowflakes are not created from frozen raindrops. The other forms of precipitation include sleet, ice, a hailstone and a frozen hydrometeor particle.
According to some sources, the largest snowflakes ever observed fell during a snowstorm in January 1887 at Montana’s Fort Keogh. While witnesses said the flakes were “larger than milk pans,” these claims have not been substantiated.
For more beautiful photographs by Alexei Kljatov, click the crystal!
And for a rare Scottish Country Dance with a hexagonal set formation, see below.