Schlieren Montage

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Dr. Gary Settles, a world-reknown expert in schlieren photography, shows here a montage of some of his lab’s results, including shockwaves from musical instruments, dogs sniffing, guns firing (both sub- and supersonic), and even snapping a wet towel going supersonic. As Settles jokes, schlieren is all mirrors and hot air. Mirrors are used to shine collimated light on the object to be imaged; then the light focused with a lens. By placing a knife-edge at the focal point, part of the light is blocked and the density variations in the final image become visible, thanks to their differing refractive indices. (Video credit: G. Settles et al.)

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