Phenomena

Curls Past the Canaries

A von Karman vortex street stretches behind Madeira Island.

When winds flow past a solitary peak, like an island in the ocean, they’re disrupted into a series of counter-rotating curls. That’s what we see here stretching to the southwest of Madeira Island. The official name for this flow is a von Karman vortex street, and it can be found anywhere from a soap film to a starship. (Image credit: J. Stevens; via NASA Earth Observatory)

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