Washington, December 27 (ANI): In a new research, a scientist has determined that snowflakes are usually drawn inaccurately in pop culture depictions.
According to a report in Live Science, Thomas Koop of Bielefeld University in Germany said that snowflakes are six-cornered, rather than the four, five and eight-cornered crystals typically depicted in children's books, Christmas cards and even in an ad for a science magazine.
Koop noticed the frosty mistake on a subscription advertisement for the scientific journal Nature that contained octagonal snow crystals in the background.
Snowflakes are made of water molecules that link up via hydrogen bonds.
The best and most efficient way to arrange themselves is a hexagonal crystal lattice, Koop explained.
So rather than eight sides, snowflakes are bound by physical laws to take on a six-sided shape."The resulting hexagonal crystal lattice is the lowest energy form of water at cold ambient conditions," Koop told Live Science.
"As the molecular building blocks arrange themselves into a hexagonal structure on the molecular scale, so do snow crystals exhibit this hexagonal symmetry also on the macroscopic scale," he said.
Even so, such sides can vary, and indeed as pop culture accurately depicts the fact, no two snowflakes are alike, at least among larger flakes.
"The detailed growth of snow crystals depends on the ambient humidity and temperature, both of which vary considerably in the atmosphere," Koop said.
"Since each crystal experiences a different pattern of humidity and temperature as it falls to the ground, no two crystals look alike," he added. (ANI)