• Question: How is it possible for gnats to fly in heavy rain and not get knocked out of the sky by a raindrop?

    Asked by danrumford to Cat, Daz, Holly, Johnson, Pamela on 22 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Pamela Lithgow

      Pamela Lithgow answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi Dan,
      I don’t know the answer, what do you think?
      I think that they do get knocked out of the sky by the rain but there are so many that some manage to dodge the rain.
      Hope that helps
      Pam 🙂

    • Photo: Cat O'Connor

      Cat O'Connor answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi Dan,

      I think this is how it works: As a rain drop falls, a tiny little pressure wave is pushed ahaid of it and this pressure wave can push the little fly or gnat out of the way, missing the raindrop. I only know about this because years ago I asked why fly swatters were made up of a meshy material. Can you see how these two questions are related? 😛

      I know I keep asking you annoying questions but they really just to help you learn and become th ebest scientist you can be!!



    • Photo: Johnson Soronnadi

      Johnson Soronnadi answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      Hi Dan,
      When it rains the drop of rain creates a tiny pressure wave ahead and below the raindrop. As the rain drop is falling with the force and wave pushes any light small object on its way sideways and the drop misses it. Same with the gnat, as the rain drops the wave and force pushes it sideways. Most times they do not have control under heavy rain.
      Because of the difference in scale, we can regard a collision between a raindrop and a gnat as similar to that between a car moving at the same speed as the raindrop, speed does not scale, and a person having only one thousandth the usual density, for example, that of a thin rubber balloon of the same size and shape.
      A balloon is easily bounced out of the way, and would burst only if it was crushed up against a wall.

      Hpe that helps