With the first snowfall expected in South Africa this weekend, we thought it would be a good idea to look at how snowflakes are formed.
The first person to speculate about it was Johannes Kepler, more than 400 years ago. He thought microscopic particles were involved, but the theory could not be proved since the atom had not been discovered yet. After it was discovered many years later, scientists had more important things to look at, so nobody ever thought to prove Kepler’s thesis.
Researchers recently decided to revisit Kepler’s idea.
They discovered that a snowflake forms when the temperature cools and water molecules slow down and start sticking to each other. They form a hexagon shape, which is the core of every single snowflake. These hexagons stick together and eventually form one big shape.
From there the shape is built further into something unique. We’ve all heard that no two snowflakes are alike, but it is possible to fabricate identical snowflakes if you have a laboratory and the right equipment.
Check the video below to see a snowflake form in slow motion.