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 some to study and admire, with a nod to some beautiful frost as well.
Snowflakes show their individual flair, even in a group. (Photo: Joanna Poe [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)
Frost makes the grass look like glass shards. (Photo: AJC1 [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)
Snowflakes land where they please, even in a person's hair. (Photo: Gui Seiz [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)
Snowflakes photographed along the curve of an airplane's window. (Photo: ~ezs [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)
The snow contrasts beautifully with the blue. (Photo: deldevries [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)
Frost on the window looks like art. (Photo: MerelyRachel [CC BY-ND 2.0]/Flickr)
Perfect, whole snowflakes rest on a plank of wood. (Photo: Doug Waldron [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)
Snow doesn't always end up on the ground. Sometimes it ends on fallen leaves. (Photo: Rosmarie Voegtli [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)
Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was published in December 2012.