Snow Crystal Image 5
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Snow Crystal (Image 5)

November 4, 2010
A sectored plate snow crystal.

Stellar plates--thin, plate-like crystals with six broad arms that form a star-like shape--often show distinctive ridges that point to the corners between adjacent prism facets. When these ridges are especially prominent, the crystals are called sectored plates. The simplest sectored plates are hexagonal crystals that are divided into six equal pieces, like the slices of a hexagonal pie. More complex specimens show prominent ridges on broad, flat branches.

This image is one of several taken at various locations including northern Ontario, Alaska, Vermont and Michigan, sometime between 2002 and 2008, by Caltech professor of physics Kenneth Libbrecht.

Libbrecht has created a website, Snowcrystals.com, containing all you need to know about snowflakes including the physics of snowflakes (why they look the way they do), a guide to the different types of snowflake crystals, designer snowflakes (see how scientists grow snowflakes in the lab), projects you can do with ice and snow, and much more. (Date of Image: 2002-2008) [Image 5 of 5 related images. Back to Image 1.]

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