Video: How to Make a Flying Broomstick

The new Harry Potter film hits theaters today, and it got me wondering whether it's possible, using current technology, to make a broomstick fly. I hit the interwebs to find out.

Jet engines are too bulky to fit on a broomstick, and probably don't accelerate quite fast enough to zip you off the ground from a standstill. The equipment that operates maglev trains could do the trick, but your travels would be confined to a track. Scientists have used an electrostatic chamber to levitate globs of metal, and an acoustic field to levitate mice, but neither of those options would seem to apply here. One flying broomstick message board I came across suggested manipulating the fourth dimension's magnetic flux, which he called hyperflux, but I don't know how feasible an option that is.

The best option I came across was this YouTube video of a kid "flying" his broomstick. Anyone with a tripod and a camera can do this. Just straddle a broomstick, hop, and get your friend to snap a photo while you're midair. Stream all the pictures together and, presto! Flying broomstick. And, judging from this and similar videos on YouTube, mixing in some sweet techno music seems to help the illusion.

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Bjorn Carey is the science information officer at Stanford University. He has written and edited for various news outlets, including Live Science's Life's Little Mysteries, and Popular Science. When it comes to reporting on and explaining wacky science and weird news, Bjorn is your guy. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his beautiful son and wife.