Snowflakes photographed by new high-speed camera

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 ♪

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

  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    I love in india here never snowfall God i want to see a snowflake pls…..

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    PWI is Science with a purpose. Bentley's work is both Art & Science with a purpose.

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    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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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    1:17
    Each perfectly symmetrical…
    What about 892?

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    I'll never trust more than 3 minutes video again

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Спасибо.

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    horrible clickbait video. only blah, no footage.

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Where do needle flakes come from?

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Darn i thought i could rag on some dems

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Present day…4 years ago

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Its snowing in our Kashmir..m enjoying too much Alhamdulillah 😘😍

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    For a science channel you sure spew a lot of BS in the beginning of this video.

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    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.

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Science behind Snowflakes explained in simple terms and captured beautifully.

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    I thought they really caught snowflakes falling with thier high speed camera : (

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    This is filled with faithful people.

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    I really found a snowflake
    Its beautful
    The one I found was like 0.2 cm
    He had a clear pattern

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Did that one Victorian dude just accuse that other Victorian dude of Photoshopping!?

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Illuminati spotted

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    The quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to capture a snowflake is to use a Starbuck's Cappuccino as bait.

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  • July 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    I came for pictures not a lecture of the history or science of snowflakes.

    Reply

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