#wagon-wheel-effect

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Questions

Anonymous
Mar 30, 2020

Why do wheels appear to spin backward?

We’ve all seen it in movies or old TV westerns—as the stagecoach (or train) picks up speed, its fast-moving wheels appear to switch direction, slowly turning backward. We also occasionally see the phenomenon in real life, with spinning car tires and whirling ceiling fans. Scientists call it the Wagon-Wheel Effect. What causes the “backward” effect?

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