Archive - Stereo Snow Crystals

December 25, 2016


Each Sunday we present a notable item from our archives. This EPOD was originally published December 22, 2000.

Provided by: Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

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.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the EPOD staff:

Erin Senoz, Stu Witmer, Jim Foster