University of Utah researchers developed a high-speed camera system that photographed snowflakes in 3-D as they fell.
NASA and the U.S. Army helped fund development of the camera, and the National Science Foundation funded the observations. The goal is to improve computer simulations of falling snow and how it interacts with radar. The simulations will improve the use of radar for weather and snowpack forecasting, and reveal more about how snowy weather can degrade microwave (radar) communications.
The device – under development for three years – includes three, industrial-grade, high-speed cameras: two 1.2-megapixel cameras and a 5-megapixel camera, plus two sets of two motion sensors to measure the speed of falling snowflakes.
The snowflake camera also has an extremely fast exposure time of up to one-40,000th of a second so it can capture pictures of fast-moving snowflakes in free-fall without blurring them.
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