Dear Tom,
What factors determine how far a ball will travel through the air?
Jenny Sammeler, Decatur

Dear Jenny,

Four factors affect the distance an object will travel though the air: temperature, air pressure, dew point temperature (or water vapor content), and wind.  The density of air decreases as temperature increases. Therefore, the higher the temperature, the farther an object like a baseball will travel.
Air pressure is also an important factor. Lower air pressure, as for example, at higher elevations, means air is less dense, resulting in objects flying farther.

Air with a higher water vapor content is less dense than drier air. This means an object will travel farther in humid air than in dry air.

The motion of air .. wind .. also affects the distance that objects will travel. Wind blowing toward an object increases drag and slows its forward motion, whereas wind blowing in the same direction offers less resistance and allows objects to travel farther.