This bulbous, ethereal shape is a spreading flame front captured by artist Fabian Oefner in his new “Aurora” series. Oefner used a few alcohol droplets in a glass vessel and ignited the volatile vapors, capturing the propagating flame. Take a look at it in action. Because the air inside the vessel is mostly still, the chemical reactions in the combustion occur much faster than the air’s motion. As a result, the flame spreads as a thin sheet instead of a uniform, widespread flame. The wrinkled and corrugated look of the flame front is due local turbulence distorting the flame. (Photo credit: F. Oefner)

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