We’ve seen all matter of snow and ice photography here on Colossal, as well as time-lapses of melting snow and snow drawings, but this is the first video individual snowflakes forming I’ve ever come across. Created by filmmaker Vyacheslav Ivanov this microscopic short shows the intimate details of fragile snowflakes as they form in their miraculous hexagonal forms. Robert Gonzalez writing for iO9 gives us an idea of what we’re looking at:
The ice crystal(s) in snowflakes owe their six-fold rotational symmetry to the hydrogen bonds in water molecules. As water freezes, water molecules bound to other water molecules crystallize into a hexagonal structure, where each point on the hexagon is an oxygen atom and each side of the hexagon is a hydrogen bonded to an oxygen. As freezing continues, more water molecules are added to this microscopic six-sided structure, causing it to grow in size into the six-sided macroscopic structure that we recognize as snowflakes.
We have a line into Ivanov to see how he filmed this and will update as soon as we hear something. Music by Aphex Twin.
Update: Ivanov confirms from his home in St. Petersburg that the video is indeed genuine (non digital) and was filmed through a microscope with a “lot of effort and patience.”