From the December 4, 1937, issue | Science News


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50 Years Ago

From the December 4, 1937, issue

2:41pm, December 5, 2007


Frost silvers the commonest things into beauty, once in a while in early winter. We awake to find that instead of the thin, hard, blighting film of white there has been deposited during the night a thick rime of furry frost that transforms even the most commonplace garden plants and wayside weeds into Christmas trees of fairyland.

But like the magic of the fairies, there must be an exact balance of correct conditions before this can occur. The night must be still. There must be abundant moisture in the air—even to the point of fogginess. Finally, the ground and objects near it must be enough colder than the moisture-laden atmosphere to cause a precipitation of the water, not as dew, but as fine splinters of ice.

Some garden plants, transfigured by such a delicately achieved meteorological miracle, were photograph

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