Stereo Snow Crystals
December 22, 2000
This stereo pair of snow crystals was imaged using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) at the Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. The viewing stage of the microscope can be adjusted at different angles, which permits three-dimensional images of the crystals to be made. Images are formed by electrons that pass through a magnetic field that serves as a lens. The above image is an example of a type of plate snow crystal, which has been magnified several hundred times. Notice the broken piece of another crystal at the right center - overlaying a portion of the plate crystal. Snow research using SEM technology allows scientists to better understand the crystalline structure of snow and processes leading to crystal formation. To see in stereo, try to cross your eyes, relax your vision until you see 3 images, then focus on the center - good luck.