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What Happens When You Drop A Ball From 400 feet? Find Out About The Magnus Effect

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Ever wonder why putting a spin on a tennis ball, football, or volleyball causes the ball to curve away from a straight path?

The spin affects the flight of the ball while airborne. This process is called the Magnus effect.

This happened to a spinning ball dropped over the edge of Gordon Dam in Southwest Tasmania, Australia, from a height of over 400 feet.

At first, the ball was dropped and landed in the general area where the young men thought it would land. They then dropped another ball, this time they giving it a little backspin.

It’s one thing to see a tennis ball curve. It’s another thing to see what happens to a basketball dropped from over 400 feet with just a little backspin. You’ll find it hard to believe to see how far the basketball curves away from its intended path.

The Magnus effect was named after Heinrich Gustav Magnus, a German scientist from Berlin University and a pioneer in the fields of chemistry and physics. He was known for the discovery of first of the platino-ammonium class of compounds. Another important study he conducted was a deflection of projectiles from firearms which led him to the discovery of Magnus effect. He observed that a projectile developed a lifting force while on the air. This was also mention by Isaac Newton, 180 years ago before Magnus, after he observed the flight of a tennis ball in his school.

The Magnus effect has also been used in ship propulsion and stabilization. A ship with rotor sails or spinning cylinders deflects crosswinds to move the ship forward. In 2010, a cargo ship with four large rotor sails was launched, named the E-Ship1.

In aviation, spinning cylinders attached to airplanes as wings create more lift using the Magnus effect. But because of some disadvantages such as the design’s lack of aerodynamics, this idea failed to have any practical application.

Watch the video below as these guys attempting a world record for the highest made basketball shot and discover something unbelievable.


photo/video by YouTube/Veritasium 

Watch as they try to beat their own world record of the highest basketball shot. Their previous record was 91.1m high from the top of Euromast Tower in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2013. 

YouTube/How Ridiculous