Sure a ball will fall straight down if tossed from the top of a 415 foot dam, but what happens if you throw a spinning ball from the top of a 415 foot dam? Well, the result is very, very different than that of simply throwing a ball from the dam.
The result is also rather unexpected, but explainable.
Due to what is called the ‘Magnus Effect’, which effects all balls and cylinders as they fly through the air.
It works like this. As the basketball picks up speed, air on the front side of the ball is going the same direction as its spin. Therefore it gets dragged along the ball and deflected back. Air on the other side is moving opposite of the spin, so the flow gets separated from the ball and does not get deflected.
The net result is the ball pushes air one way, so the air applies an equal force to the ball the other way.
Check it out in action below!
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