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Taking science by storm: Coriolis effect

Taking Science by Storm: Coriolis Effect image
Posted at 3:33 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 18:44:25-04
Taking Science by Storm: Coriolis Effect

Earth is a giant spinning sphere, that revolves about its axis once in about 24 hours.

That means if you were standing at the equator, you are spinning at a speed of 1,037 mph!

But, because of the shape of Earth, all spinning speeds are not the same. If you were standing at the Wyoming-Montana border at 45 degrees latitude, you would be spinning at a speed of 733 mph.

And at the north pole it's very slow, it would take 24 hours to spin your body once in place.

Because of these facts, we experience the Coriolis Effect.

Definition: The Coriolis Effect is an apparent force, relative to the earth's surface, that causes deflection of moving objects.

If you were strong enough to throw a ball from Colorado to Wyoming, if you threw it straight north, it would land to the east, say in Minnesota.

This is because the Earth is spinning away from the ball as it travels north.

Moving objects are always deflected right in the northern hemisphere and left in the southern hemisphere, because the rotation speed changes opposite on each hemisphere.

Experiment

Time: 10-20 min

Materials:

  • medium bowl
  • lazy susan
  • food coloring
  • water

Instructions:

  1. fill the bowl with water
  2. place bowl on lazy susan and spin it
  3. add 2 to 3 drops of food coloring to bowl, keep spinning
  4. stop the spin and observe
  5. repeat with different color combinations!

Hey kids! Thanks for checking out Taking Science by Storm. Is there a science topic you would like to learn more about? Contact Alex at alex.obrien@koaa.com