There's nothing as magical as the first snowfall of winter. As winter drags on, however, it can be hard to think of snow as anything other than cold misery that just won't quit.
But even when you're sick to death of dealing with snow, every individual snowflake is pretty darn amazing.
It's often said that every snowflake is completely unique. While it would be impossible to check or prove that, there is a huge amount of diversity within these crystals because of all the different factors that go into forming them.
Up in the atmosphere, water molecules need something to condense onto, typically dust, pollen, or even pollution. Low temperatures cause the water to freeze, forming the base of the crystal structure. The shape is largely determined on humidity and temperature, with colder, drier weather creating simpler shapes.
As the falling snowflake collects more water molecules that freeze onto it, the arms begin to grow. The shape is also influenced by the wind and everything they come into contact with on the way down. Because each snowflake is shaped by unique experiences, they can be look a lot different from one another.
This video by NRK Viten celebrates snow by zooming in and watching them fall in slow motion. It's completely hypnotic and looks like beautiful tiny glass sculptures falling from above, before they smash against the ground.