Topper's Blog: Snowflake Watching

9:28 PM, Jan 2, 2014   |    comments
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Snowflake Watching

Bird watching is way more popular but you can snowflake watch too. This activity gets you outdoors and does not require much equipment. Every winter I review a book on snowflakes that was given to me by Lees Corner Elementary School. The book is entitled The Field Guide to Snowflakes by Ken Libbrecht. Lees Corner did their homework. They know I love snow. At this writing the flakes are flying. Here are some cool facts:

-         Snowflakes do not originate from liquid water

-         Snowflakes form from water vapor

-         Snowflakes are actually made of ice that form directly from water vapor

-         All snowflakes are six sided

-         Yes, every snowflake is different

-         The temperatures both on the ground and above us can affect the size & shape

-         Snowflakes are actually clear and disperse the light appearing white

-         Snowflakes are not always perfectly symmetrical

-         Riming is when the snowflakes collide with water droplets and stick to other flakes (Remember the big flakes earlier today when the atmosphere could barely support snow and the surface temperature was well above freezing? The flakes were gathering moisture in what was a marginal atmosphere that could barely sustain snow. They stick together and fall as huge snowflakes.)

According to Mr. Libbrecht all you need to snowflake watch is a warm coat, a fold up descent magnifying glass and oh yes, snow ! As he points out in his book you might be warmer bird watching but you'll never get bitten by a mosquito when you are snowflake watching. I have always thought that snow is one of nature's most beautiful displays.


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