Freeze Frame

Beginning in the 1880s, amateur photographer Wilson A. Bentley revealed the hidden structure of falling flakes

Snow crystal photomicrograph, C. 1890 (Smithsonian Institute Archives)
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Bentley's long, frigid labors culminated just in the nick of time. The man who revealed the glittering secret of every white Christmas died that same year on December 23 at his Jericho farm. The weather forecast for the day promised occasional showers.

About Owen Edwards
Owen Edwards

Owen Edwards is a freelance writer who previously wrote the "Object at Hand" column in Smithsonian magazine.

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