Here’s a red letter date in the history of science, November 5th, 1955.

For Back to the Future (1985) fans, today marks the exact date that Doctor Emmett Lathrop Brown stood on a toilet to hang a clock, slipped on some wet porcelain, fell and hit his head on the edge of the sink and saw a vision of the device that makes time travel possible: The Flux Capacitor.

Years later, the Flux Capacitor has reserved itself a strong place in pop culture history.  There are T-shirts, replicas and even tattoos.  (Note: you can’t travel back in time to get rid of a Flux Capacitor tattoo.)  With all this talk of flux dispersal, how exactly does the Flux Capacitor work??

Much like a real capacitor, the idea of the FC is to disperse a massive amount of energy.  With the FC, the discharge is so powerful it is able to rip the time barrier open, allowing a time vehicle to pass through this torn opening.  You can see this in action here:

back to the future delorean time travel flux capacitor november 5th 1955 ppw

Powered by 1.21 jiggawats, harnessed either from a radioactive discharge or a bolt of lightning and or on board fusion generator, the capacitor is set to discharge at 88 miles per hour, sending electrical current through the external custom coils and ultimately through the flux dispersal box, located externally, above the passenger cabin.  The flux dispersal box shoots electrical current forward, creating a field in front of the time vehicle, powerful enough to rip the time barrier open, allowing Deloreans and anything else in close proximity a momentary opportunity to pass through this opening into a time of your choosing, set with the time circuits.

Somehow, in the fictitious world of this 1985 classic, Doc Brown came up with this idea whilst hitting his head on a toilet.  Maybe the impact was so hard that he imagined an explosion, a massive discharge of energy – and in this moment of intense pain and confusion, pictured such a burst of power as being the potential framework for a device powerful enough to rip open a temporary hole in the time barrier.  GREAT SCOTT.

So, happy Flux Capacitor Day to all!  Here are a few flux related pictures:

flux capacitor poppowwow ppw back to the future

flux capacitor poppowwow ppw back to the future

flux capacitor poppowwow ppw back to the future

flux capacitor poppowwow ppw back to the future

flux capacitor poppowwow ppw back to the future  tatoo

flux capacitor poppowwow ppw back to the future

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HOLD ONTO YOUR HOVERBOARDS!  Michael J. Fox recently reprised his role as Marty McFly to promote the 2010 Scream Awards on Spike TV.  The 1985 teaser trailer for Back to the Future was copied shot for shot, with a retro-fitted time machine Delorean and Johnny b. Goode himself.  Here are both versions for your enjoyment:

michael j. fox actual time travel age aging marty mcfly spike scream 2010 awards

Spike TV Version

Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer

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