Technically speaking, snowflakes are conglomerations of frozen ice crystals which fall through the Earth's atmosphere. They begin as snow crystals which develop when microscopic supercooled cloud droplets freeze. Continue reading to see what they look like under a microscope.
Snowflakes form in a wide variety of intricate shapes, leading to the popular expression that "no two are alike". Although statistically possible, it is very unlikely for any two snowflakes to appear exactly alike due to the many changes in temperature and humidity the crystal experiences during its fall to earth. Initial attempts to find identical snowflakes by photographing thousands of them with a microscope from 1885 onward by Wilson Alwyn Bentley found the wide variety of snowflakes we know about today. It is more likely that two snowflakes could become virtually identical if their environments were similar enough.