Friday, January 8, 2010

15 Minutes : Know It : Bentley's Snowflakes

The above image was taken by Wilson Bentley, the first person to photograph a snowflake. His first successful photo was taken in 1885, and by the time of his death in 1931, he had taken over 5ooo photographs of snowflakes. You can see some of that collection in the book, Snowflakes in Photographs. Or, examine them closely by visiting

Interesting facts about snowflakes:
*Snowflakes always have six sides.

*The largest snowflake on record fell in Montana in 1887; it measured 15 inches in diameter and 8 inches thick.

*A blizzard occurs when you can't see more than 1/4 mile; the winds are at least 35 mph; and the storm lasts at least 3 hours. If any of these conditions are not present, it is only a snowstorm.

*Stampede Pass in Washington state receives the most snow in the USA: an average of 430 inches annually.

*A snowflake falls at an average speed of 3 mph.
Facts via suite101 and here.

Want more information about snowflakes or their photographer?
*Read the Caldecott Award-winning book about Wilson Bentley, aptly entitled, Snowflake Bentley.
*Learn more about Wilson Bentley here: Highlights Gallery of Bentley's Snowflakes

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