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Natural Wonders

Because Science… Again: Here’s The Flying Basketball Making The Internet Lose Its Mind

Watching 'The Magnus Effect' in full flow shows that physics is entirely optional...

Not too long ago we brought you a video of a flying basketball that made us go slightly insane. How was the basketball flying? Did this signal the end of the world as we knew it? Or had we actually been living in The Truman Show all along?

The answer to the latter two of the questions above turned out to be a resounding ‘probably not’, while the reasoning behind how that basketball could fly so far after being dropped from a dam was put down to ‘The Magnus Effect’ – a law that applies to every ball and cylindrical object in the world when flying through the air.

The Magnus Effect occurs when a ball gains speed, and air on the front side of the ball is going in the same direction as the spin, dragging the air along and deflecting it backwards. Air on the other side of the ball then separates; pushing the ball in a particular direction and making it look as though it can fly.

While the video from the dam was impressive, the video below may be even moreso, with some budding science-lovers taking a basketball high, high up some cliffs, above the clouds, before dropping it below and watching it fly. We know there’s a lot of science and reasoning behind this now, but that still doesn’t mean it doesn’t freak us out in every way imaginable…


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