Being straight as an arrow is not what it seems to be.
Ever seen an arrow shot from a longbow fly on a high speed camera? You will notice that the arrow is not actually flying perfectly straight but actually vibrating in the air as it travels to the target. Why is that? Shouldn’t the arrow be straight in flight to guide it toward the target? The answer is actually, no.
The arrow has to bend to make it to the target. And the reason is the Archer’s Paradox. How does the arrow get to the target around the longbow since the bow is between the target and the arrow?
In this video from Smarter Every Day, Dustin, with the help of exhibition archer Byron Ferguson, explains to us the Archer’s Paradox and how it solves itself.
As you can see, the arrow actually has to snake around the bow to make it to the target. The arrow is less rigid and lighter and, because it is compressed, it actually moves itself around the bow and wiggles its way to the target.
When shooting an arrow from a compound bow, we don’t have that issue since the bow is already out of the way. A rest is used to hold the arrow and a more rigid arrow is used to handle the force of the string moving the arrow.