Incredible Basketball Trick Shot Shows How The Magnus Effect Works

Forget “Bend It Like Beckham.” Try bending it like these guys.

This clip from Veritasium shows Australian trick basketball team How Ridiculous dropping a basketball from a height of 415 feet off Tasmania’s Gordon Dam to illustrate what’s known as the Magnus effect.

That’s how the spin of the ball and the air around it can cause movements that almost look unreal. Or, as it’s more technically explained in the video from Veritasium’s Derek Muller:

“As the basketball picks up speed, air on the front side of the ball is going the same direction as its spin, and therefore it gets dragged along with the ball and deflected back. Air on the other side is moving opposite to the ball’s spin, so the flow separates from the ball instead of getting deflected. The net result is the ball pushes the air one way so the air applies an equal force on the ball the other way.”

The Magnus effect helps explain those amazing soccer kicks from David Beckham and the curveball, among other things. Check out the clip above for a full explanation.

How Ridiculous also showed off a few other ways the ball can fall, depending on the spin:

Along with dropping some science, How Ridiculous recently dropped a record-breaker, sinking a basket from the top of the dam. In another clip, they released an overinflated basketball from that height to see it explode when it hit the ground.

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