Hoar Frost

When you walk outside does it feel like icy fingers are poking at your body?  While describing this feeling in that way may be just a saying, there are real icy fingers  in winter that you can find outside.   But these icy fingers are the ones that you will be able to see with your eyes not just think that you can feel when you are cold.

 ==What are these icy fingers?==

When you wake up on a cold frosty morning and you look outside, if the temperature is right you will see a world covered in frost.  One type of frost develops into icy looking fingers protruding from the objects that they are attached to.  This type of frost is known as Hoar Frost and is one of three different types of frost that are seen in the wintertime.

The word Hoar in Hoar Frost is thought to have come from a German word meaning gray venerable and old or expresses the resemblance of the white feathers of frost to an old man’s beard. (http://www.etymonline.com/).  The definition describes the frost very eloquently and gives one the feeling of connection to the word “old man winter”  because of the frost being described as resembling an old mans beard.

 ==What makes Hoar Frost?==

Hoar Frost needs the just right temperature to develop, if it is too warm no frost will develop and if it is too cold then a different frost known as Rime Frost will develop instead.  Hoar Frost develops when the temperature is just around or below the freezing point of water.  The moisture in the air, already cold from the air temperature, lands on an object that is colder then itself and instantly freezes to it.  As time goes on more moisture in the air passes by and attaches itself to the already frozen moisture and it grows into the spiky fingers of Hoar Frost.

 ==What does Hoar Frost look like?==

Photographer Susanne v. Schroeder has taken some beautiful photos of what Hoar Frost is and just how it adds a wintery accent to everything it touches.  You can find some of her photography and see what Hoar Frost looks like on her website http://www.pbase.com/july_1960/hoarfrost.  The photographs of the items close up makes it easy to see just how spiky Hoar Frost is.

Hoar Frost has also been the subject of quite a few painters in the past.  Artists such as Alfred Sisley, Sheri Gordon and Camille Pissarro have wonderfully captured the white frost at its best in their paintings. 

If you live in a climate that is prime for frost in the winter, next time it develops outside take a close look to see if it is Hoar Frost.  Notice the interesting stricture and dazzle your friends with your knowledge of where it comes from.  If you live in a climate that enjoys the heat of the sun year round, enjoy the photography and painting of the subject and revel in their beauty just as those that live in colder climates find pleasure in scenes of warm blue water and white sandy beaches.