Mid-air Icicle

February 12, 2020

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Photographer: Jeanette Stafford 
Summary Author: Jeanette Stafford 

At first glance, this odd-shaped icicle appeared to be hanging in mid-air, but on closer inspection I found that it’s actually the remains of a frozen spider web, still suspended by strands of silk. The day before I shot this photo an array of webs had been covered in water droplets – a foggy, and quite chilly December day. Overnight, temperatures fell to around 23 F (-5 C), freezing the moisture on the webs and leaving them either coated with frost or encased in ice. Several webs had already collapsed under the weight of the ice so I would guess that these strands are at the limit of their capacity to bear the weight of the ice that’s suspended here.

For scale purposes, the web is spun between uprights on a metal gate with a gap of about 3 inches (8 cm) so the maximum width of the ice is no more than an inch (2.5 cm). Photo taken on December 24, 2018.

Photo Details: Camera: PENTAX KP; Software: Windows Photo Editor 10; Exposure Time: 0.0050s (1/200); Aperture: ƒ/5.0; ISO equivalent: 200; Focal Length (35mm): 150.