Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Kopp-Etchells Effect

A photographer's unique tribute to two soldiers.

This isn't a painting. It's not from a movie. It's not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air.

This doesn't always happen. "The halos usually disappear as the rotors change pitch," wrote war photographer Michael Yon. "On some nights, on this very same landing zone, no halos form." How come?

Michael thought whatever causes this, it ought to have a name. And because he could, because most of these are his pictures, he decided to dub these lights "The Kopp-Etchells Effect." Curiously, (and to me, very happily), the name is beginning to catch on.  [S]o who, I wondered, are Kopp and Etchells? Are they physicists? 
They aren't. Or weren't. They are, both of them, soldiers...
The rest of the story is here.

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