Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Diamond Dust

Listeners in the Thetford/Fairlee area have reported seeing diamond dust - what looks like diamonds in the sky above a river or pond.

Chris Bouchard at the Fairbanks Museum replies: "I think that what you saw can be attributed to an exceptionally thick frost. I think being close to a large body of water made the frost even thicker, as the water is still relatively warm this time of the year, which led the water to steam away lots of extra water vapor, which was then converted over into the hearty frost in the chilly air. I suspect the floating particles you saw might have been caused by a light breeze shattering the fragile crystals on trees, causing then to gently fall to the ground. During very cold air outbreaks in the winter, we can get fog that develops very tiny ice crystals, which we call diamond dust. Typically this only happens when it is well below zero, which is why I suspect you saw a similar, but different phenomenon!"

Let us know if you see diamond dust on these frosty mornings!

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