Send a snowflake

Snowflake Stamps: The new snowflake stamps
Snowflake Stamps: The new snowflake stamps

Physicist Kenneth Libbrecht used a high-resolution microscope to take pictures of snowflakes. These images were put on to four new 39-cent commemorative stamps by the United States Postal Service. The images were taken from snowflakes in Michigan, Alaska, and Ontario. To take the picture, Libbrecht used a paintbrush to transfer the snowflake onto a glass slide. He then took the picture using a digital camera through a high-resolution microscope. Libbrecht does most of his work outside to keep the snowflakes from melting. According to Libbrecht, there are 35 different types of snowflake crystals. The stamps feature two specific types, stellar dendrite snowflake crystals and sectored plate snowflake crystals.

Snowflakes are created when a water droplet inside a cloud freezes into an ice particle. The particle spreads out and becomes a six-sided prism as water vapor gathers on its surface. As more vapor accumulates, the prism grows branches and begins to look like a crystal. No two snowflakes are the same because, inside the cloud, the snowflake crystal is pushed around between temperature and humidity changes which affect the shape of the snowflake.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Thanks for posting this MSUAshley. These pictures of snowflakes are cool (cold?) I wanted to see more, so I did a Google search. There is a website called SnowCrystals.com but the real URL address is its.caltech.edu and its author is Kenneth Libbrecht himself. The main page has links to picture galleries, snowflake physics, snow and ice activities, designer snowflakes, and even snowflake movies.

posted on Mon, 10/16/2006 - 3:04pm
olivia garcia's picture
olivia garcia says:


posted on Wed, 01/17/2007 - 12:01pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options