The next time you’re going out in the snow, take a magnifying glass with you and see if you can find an elusive 12-sided snowflake… and if you don’t happen to see that one, take note of the ones you do find. Is it needle-shaped? Is it a capped column? Is it made of radiating dendrites?

In this classic Snowflake Safari episode of Science Friday, Flora Lichtman talks with CalTech physicist and snowflake expert Kenneth Libbrecht, who explains why snowflakes are how they are. Check out this featured Snow Crystal Morphology Diagram:

shapes-of-snowflakes

There’s more information at SnowCrystals.com. Follow this with SciFri’s How to grow snowflakes in a bottle.