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Air-gap strobe

Major collection: Science & Technology
Named collection: Harold E. Edgerton Collection
Object type: stroboscope
Maker: Carpenter Manufacturing Corporation
Date made: date unknown
Materials: wood; metal; glass
Measurements: 19 in x 22 in x 8 in
Nomenclature: photographic tools and equipment - high speed photographic equipment
Classification: tools and equipment

Very high-speed photographs, like those of bullets in flight, are made with a microflash. A high-voltage spark sent into the flash tube causes an arc of electricity to jump between the electrodes on the outside of the tube. The arc displaces the air around it, much like lightning in a summer storm, and the microflash produces its own thunder, sounding like a gun shot. Unlike most electronic flash lamps, which are filled with xenon, the microflash operates in air. This produces a very short afterglow.


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