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Thread: Glittering in the air? Not snow.

  1. #1 Glittering in the air? Not snow. 
    Forum Sophomore confusedasyou's Avatar
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    So this morning when I looked outside (it was very cold) I seen glittering all within the air. There was no snow flakes in the air, although I cant help but wonder if it was little particles of ice. It was almost like someone was pouring glitter in the air. What is this and what causes this. I have never seen it before and have been in the snow all my life.


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  3. #2  
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    cincirob: Sounds like fog. It will form small ice crystals if the temperature is right.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by confusedasyou View Post
    So this morning when I looked outside (it was very cold) I seen glittering all within the air. There was no snow flakes in the air, although I cant help but wonder if it was little particles of ice. It was almost like someone was pouring glitter in the air. What is this and what causes this. I have never seen it before and have been in the snow all my life.
    Diamond dust is a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. This meteorological phenomenon is also referred to simply as ice crystals and is reported in the METAR code as IC. Diamond dust generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies, so it is sometimes referred to as clear-sky precipitation. It is most commonly observed in Antarctica and the Arctic, but it can occur anywhere with a temperature well below freezing. In Polar regions diamond dust may continue for several days without interruption.

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    Forum Sophomore confusedasyou's Avatar
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    Thank you for this information, but can this also happen if the temperature is around 15 degrees?
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    Quote Originally Posted by confusedasyou View Post
    Thank you for this information, but can this also happen if the temperature is around 15 degrees?
    From the wikipedia article:
    In areas with a lot of small particles in the air, from human pollution or natural sources like dust, the water droplets are likely to be able to freeze at a temperature around −10 C (14 F), but in very clean areas, where there are no particles (ice nuclei) to help the droplets freeze, they can remain liquid to −39 C (−38 F), at which point even very tiny, pure water droplets will freeze. In the interior of Antarctica diamond dust is fairly common at temperatures below about −25 C (−13 F).
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  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore confusedasyou's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the answers. It was kind of cool to see.
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