A new study has revealed that yes, you can see your farts in cold weather the same way you can see your breath. The study, which consisted of 45 hairy, middle-aged men, included wind tunnel experiments at a wide variety of speeds and temperatures, as well as field tests in several Canadian cities.
“The fart boundary layer extends far beyond theoretical predictions,” explained PhD student Stan Ki. “The pressure developed inside your pants when you fart is almost 10 times greater than what previous researchers thought. We realized that their measurements were conducted from too far away, resulting in attenuated signals being picked up by their instruments. So we got up close and personal.”
The mechanism for seeing farts is not unlike that of your breath. It’s caused by condensation, but the thermodynamic conditions caused by pant pressure and gas being forced through the fabric of your pants cause methane in your flatulence to ever-so-slightly condense–just enough to be perceptible to the naked eye.
So what are the implications for public farters? “Hold it in until you’re inside, where it’s warmer,” said Prof. Wei Tuan, Ki’s supervisor. “Even if you think the wind will blow the smell away, people will surely see it.
The best places to let it out are in crowded buses and elevators. In those situations, everyone’s a suspect and there’s no visual evidence.”
Prof. Tuan says the next step in their study is to collaborate with a group of sociologists and identify the cultural impacts of their discovery.
“Relativity and the A-bomb shook the foundations of our society. We think this breakthrough will having lingering effects on the world too.”