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From a Balloon (Posted on 2005-07-07) Difficulty: 3 of 5
If a stone is dropped from a balloon on a still day, does the stone fall directly below the balloon, or to the west or east of it?

No Solution Yet Submitted by Erik O.    
Rating: 3.0000 (5 votes)

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re: long live Corialis | Comment 20 of 33 |
(In reply to long live Corialis by Rex)

It's spelled "Coriolis", and results from differential linear motion resulting from the same angular motion. As such, the higher object (the balloon) has a higher eastward velocity than the ground, so when the object is dropped it already has this higher eastward velocity and falls east of the balloon, as this greater linear velocity becomes a greater angular velocity as it gets closer to the earth's center.

The usual Coriolis effect is given as, say an object leaving the equaor and going horizontally northward. It's deflected eastward as at the equator it has a higher linear eastward velocity than at any other latitude.  But in this case the differential linear velocity is caused by different altitudes rather than different latitudes.

In a previous post I noted that if the balloon were a mile up, the eastward displacement would be about 6 feet, neglecting air resistance.

Edited on July 10, 2005, 4:05 pm
  Posted by Charlie on 2005-07-10 16:05:18

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