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Helicopter Halos

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Video of the Week #103, August 1st, 2013:

From: The Beautiful Science of Helicopter Halos by Kyle Hill at Overthinking It.

Source: Fox News.

When a helicopter descends into a sandy environment, it creates a brilliant halo that is a stark contrast to the solemnity of battle. But scientifically, what are these miniature galaxies adorning helicopter blades? It’s due to something called the the Kopp-Etchells Effect. The downward thrust from the blades kicks up a cloud of sand, and the blades smash into millions of these tiny particles. Every so often, the metal blasted from the blades produces a miniature meteor shower.

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  1. 1. Percival 4:40 am 08/2/2013

    Very cool. Looks pyrophoric to me too, but the only way to be sure would involve a sandblaster and a spectroscope. Has anyone asked the helicopter blade tip manufacturers if they’ve done this?

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