Snowflakes — those intricate, one-of-a-kind ice crystals — form when precipitation falls through varying levels of humidity and temperatures in the air. While plenty has been written about the science of snow, we're focusing on the sheer beauty of them. Here are 18 to study and admire.

Snowflake

Photo: Andreas/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: N!(K/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: Eric Begin/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: Nedral/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: Gui Sez/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: Juliancolton2/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: ~ezs/Flickr


Snowflake
Snowflake
Photo: JimmyMac210/Flickr
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Snowflake

Photo: netsanette/Flickr


Snowflake

ViaMoi/Flickr


Snowflake on a woman's eyelashes

Photo: The Monstrous/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: Thomas Marthinsen/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: CaptPiper/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: musubk/Flickr


Snowflake

Photo: margot.trudell/Flickr


Snowflake

RachelEllen/Flickr

Want to see more great photos? Check out our Big Snapshot archive

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) is a photo editor at MNN who focuses on travel, nature, science, animals and the arts.