The Star-Shaped Snowflakes of Winter Storm Juno

Curators’ Corner

The Star-Shaped Snowflakes of Winter Storm Juno

As Winter Storm Juno brought the East Coast to a standstill Jan. 26-27, everyone hunkered down for the main event.

The storm dubbed “The Blizzard of 2015” and “Snowmageddon 2015” was forecast to dump feet of snow from New Jersey to New England. NYC mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers of a historic weather event, sparking an exodus out of Manhattan ahead of mass transit, bridge and tunnel closures. Conditions were worsening, and we were all prepared to be buried.

And then we woke up to like 7 inches of snow –disruptive, yes, but certainly far from epic. As it ended up, Juno was really “snow big deal,” a blizzard bust that weather experts and city officials will never live down.

Perhaps the highlight of Juno wasn’t the volume of snow, but rather the beauty in which it fell. As the storm approached, New Jersey and New York residents Instagrammed photos of star-shaped snowflakes that were as perfect as any cutout you could ever make. meteorologist Chris Dolce noted that sometimes when snowflakes remain separated from each other after falling, you can see their anatomy with your naked eye.

“There are many different types of crystal patterns and these star-shaped snowflakes are just one example,” Dolce said. “The dendrite, a star-shape with varying patterns, is the most common shape of a snowflake.”

According to, a snowflake is born when a tiny dust or pollen particle meets water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere. The particle becomes coated in the water vapor and freezes into a crystal of ice. The water molecules of each crystal arrange themselves into a hexagonal structure that repeats itself as the snowflake falls. Of course the best part of snowflake science is that every flake has its own unique pattern thanks to unlimited variations in temperature and humidity.

Take a look at Juno’s magical star-shaped snowflakes below, and then check out Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov’s macrophotography for a complete look at nature’s winter artwork.

Star-Shaped Snowflakes on hat


Star-Shaped Snowflakes on Sweater


Star-Shaped Snowflakes on pink glove


Star-Shaped Snowflakes on ground


Star-Shaped Snowflakes on brown hair