Freezing a Soap Film

December 1st, 2014
Upon seeing this morning some recently posted pictures of freezing soap bubbles, I decided to give it a try. Fortunately, we have been having freezing temperatures recently. And coincidentally, my older daughter had just purchased some glycerin for… more »

Glaze-rime Ice Buildup Facing Creek

November 23rd, 2014
Here's a reed of some sort, with a glaze of clear rime on the side facing a creek. How did the clear ice get there, and what is the white ice on top of it? The fact that the clear ice is just on the side facing the creek indicates that the ice came from… more »

A Change in Habit

November 23rd, 2014
The two main growth modes of snow and hoar (i.e., ice growth from the vapor) are columnar and tabular. In columnar, the shape is long and thin, like a pencil or cluster of pencils (bound snugly with a rubber band). In tabular, the shape is plate-like or… more »

Smaller Hoar Growing on Larger Hoar

November 22nd, 2014
Cold air came down the interior, spilling through gaps in the Cascades, cooling the western side. In the Seattle area, we got our first frost on Nov. 11, but the days stayed cold. Areas in the shade never lost their hoar, so the hoar frost kept growing.… more »

New habit diagram for branched tabular crystals

August 24th, 2014
You might call these “snowflakes”. But let's be specific here with the names. Anyway, a close associate who has been sweating over his snow-crystal growth machine in Japan for many years has just published his latest results. His machine is a vertical… more »

It’s not a rainbow (it’s better)

August 12th, 2014
In summer, the sun reaches higher elevations, bringing the possibility of new atmospheric displays. I saw this one in mid-June. The top, upward arc is the more familiar and common 22-degree halo. But pay attention to the one on the bottom. Its colors… more »

The new ice-crystal-growth apparatus

July 1st, 2014
After a few years in the making, our new device for growing single ice crystals in a well-controlled laboratory environment is nearly ready. We are just adding a few small accessory pieces to allow us to start testing. I was to describe the apparatus at… more »

Halo in the sky? Uh, I don't see no halo...

April 20th, 2014
After a few days of fine bright spring weather, the barometer falls and a south wind begins to blow. High clouds, fragile and feathery, rise out of the west, the sky gradually becomes milky white, made opalescent by veils of cirro-stratus. The sun seems… more »

The fun of shooting down your own dang theories

April 10th, 2014
Thomas H. Huxley once wrote the famous line: The great tragedy of Science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. Great man and a catchy phrase, but perhaps he was being a bit overdramatic. To me, the slaying of a “hypothesis” (i.e., pet… more »

Equinox frost I: Patterns on roof, hood, window, and mirror

March 24th, 2014
Morning on the spring equinox, the first day of spring, brought a few gifts from winter. I) Film-frost, accentuated with hoar-frost on the cars. See the white of the hoar, following a pattern set down by the thin layer of film-frost. The roof of one… more »