Movie courtesy of the Little Shop of Physics.
Cotton Candy and Wind
What does cotton candy have to do with winds? In the center of the machine, sugar is melted in a spinning drum. As the machine spins, the rotation leads to apparent forces on the solution that makes it "fly out" from the center. It's the spin that's important - no spin, no cotton candy. In a similar vein, the spin of the earth leads to the complex patterns of winds that we see on the globe.
Right-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) here to download a copy of this video in QuickTime format.
Click here to learn more about the Little Shop of Physics.
You might also be interested in:
Wind is moving air. Warm air rises, and cool air comes in to take its place. This movement creates different pressures in the atmosphere which creates the winds around the globe. Since the Earth spins,...more
Rainbows appear in the sky when there is bright sunlight and rain. Sunlight is known as visible or white light and is actually a mixture of colors. Rainbows result from the refraction and reflection of...more
The Earth travels around the sun one full time per year. During this year, the seasons change depending on the amount of sunlight reaching the surface and the Earth's tilt as it revolves around the sun....more
Scientists sometimes travel in specially outfitted airplanes in order to gather data about atmospheric conditions. These research aircraft have special inlet ports that bring air from the outside into...more
An anemometer is a weather instrument used to measure the wind (it can also be called a wind gauge). Anemometers can measure wind speed, wind direction, and other information like the largest gust of wind...more
Thermometers measure temperature. "Thermo" means heat and "meter" means to measure. You can use a thermometer to measure the temperature of many things, including the temperature of...more
Weather balloons are used to carry weather instruments that measure temperature, pressure, humidity, and winds in the lowest few miles of the atmosphere. The balloons are made of rubber and weigh up to...more