Frost Covered Spider Webs

September 24, 2009

20090924 – Thursday - Frost Covered Spider Webs

Photographer: Greg Parker, Greg's web site
Summary Author:
Greg Parker

September 2009 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's Choice

The above photo illustrating the strength, architecture and beauty of spider webs was captured outside of the New Forest Observatory in Hampshire, U.K. We had some amazingly cold nights here this past January, and one particular icy morning I couldn’t help but notice these frost-covered spider webs. The tensile strength of “silk” produced by spiders is even greater than that of steel having a similar weight. Moreover, spider silk has considerably more elasticity than steel or most manmade fibers. Because spider webs have a huge surface to volume ratio, the silk has to be strong in order to support the weight of the frost crystals, which have thoroughly coated these gossamer strands.