A photonic curveball has real-world examples in soccer, baseball

Have you ever been amazed by a curveball goal scored by Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo? Then you have—possibly without knowing it—been exposed to the Magnus effect: the fact that spinning objects tend ...

Which particulate air pollution poses the greatest health risk?

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), together with colleagues from several other European institutions, have investigated whether particulate matter from certain sources can be especially harmful to human health. ...

Smog returns to Indian capital as agriculture fires start

The Indian capital's air quality levels plunged to "very poor" on Friday and a smoggy haze settled over the city, days after the state government initiated stricter measures to fight chronic air pollution.

Fossil fuel-free jet propulsion with air plasmas

Humans depend on fossil fuels as their primary energy source, especially in transportation. However, fossil fuels are both unsustainable and unsafe, serving as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and leading to ...

A year of surprising science from NASA's InSight Mars mission

A new understanding of Mars is beginning to emerge, thanks to the first year of NASA's InSight lander mission. Findings described in a set of six papers published today reveal a planet alive with quakes, dust devils and strange ...

Polar vortex: The science behind the cold

The polar vortex, a swirl of low-pressure air six miles up in the atmosphere, blasted much of the American Midwest and Northeast in late January 2019 with temperatures cold enough to bring on frostbite within minutes.

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Atmospheric pressure

Atmospheric pressure is sometimes defined as the force per unit area exerted against a surface by the weight of air above that surface at any given point in the Earth's atmosphere. In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point. Low pressure areas have less atmospheric mass above their location, whereas high pressure areas have more atmospheric mass above their location. Similarly, as elevation increases there is less overlying atmospheric mass, so that pressure decreases with increasing elevation. A column of air one square inch in cross-section, measured from sea level to the top of the atmosphere, would weigh approximately 65.5 newtons (14.7 lbf). The weight of a 1 m2 (11 sq ft) column of air would be about 101 kN (10.3 tf).

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