Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's a wonderful life

Do you ever encounter something that you thought you knew everything about, but during this particular encounter, you realize you had absolutely no idea? NO IDEA at all!

Okay, let me explain. I was browsing this website that sells affordable artwork called 20x200 (it's genious). I clicked a pretty picture, and once the page loaded... my jaw dropped. OH. MY. GOODNESS. That is a snowflake, and it's the most amazing thing I've ever seen! HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?

I lived in northern Arizona for nine years where plenty of snowflakes fell all winter, I surely learned all about snowflakes in grade school, I cut the paper folded snowflakes at Christmas time for goodness sake! How did I see and taste and touch and understand, but not SEE?

It is so overwhelming at how majestic of an artist God is. There is so much beauty in the small details of life; it leaves me short of breath and makes my heart want to explode with amazement when I think about how much of his personal touch God added to everything. I don't even know how to sum it all up, but life is so beautiful.

The artists who took these photographs are Mike + Doug Starn. Wanna hear their artisterly (I made that word up, fooled you, huh?) explanation behind their photographs? Click here. They're identical twin brothers!

In case my nerdy husband ever reads this: the science behind it (although my source is wikipedia so who really knows, plus I could only read every other sentence of this science nerd jargon anyways)

Snow crystals form when tiny supercooled cloud droplets (about 10 μm in diameter) freeze. These droplets are able to remain liquid at temperatures lower than −18 °C (0 °F), because to freeze, a few molecules in the droplet need to get together by chance to form an arrangement similar to that in an ice lattice; then the droplet freezes around this "nucleus." Experiments show that this "homogeneous" nucleation of cloud droplets only occurs at temperatures lower than −35 °C (−31 °F). In warmer clouds an aerosol particle or "ice nucleus" must be present in (or in contact with) the droplet to act as a nucleus. The particles that make ice nuclei are very rare compared to nuclei upon which quid cloud droplets form, however it is not understood what makes them efficient. Clays, desert dust and biological particles may be effective, although to what extent is unclear. Artificial nuclei include particles of silver iodide and dry ice, and these are used to stimulate precipitation in cloud seeding.

Once a droplet has frozen, it grows in the supersaturated environment, which is one where air is saturated with respect to ice when the temperature is below the freezing point. The droplet then grows by diffusion of water molecules in the air (vapor) onto the ice crystal surface where they are collected. Because water droplets are so much more numerous than the ice crystals due to their sheer abundance, the crystals are able to grow to hundreds of micrometers or millimeters in size at the expense of the water droplets. This process is known as the Wegner-Bergeron-Findeison process. The corresponding depletion of water vapor causes the droplets to evaporate, meaning that the ice crystals grow at the droplets' expense. These large crystals are an efficient source of precipitation, since they fall through the atmosphere due to their mass, and may collide and stick together in clusters, or aggregates. These aggregates are snowflakes, and are usually the type of ice particle that falls to the ground.

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