Phenomena

Rocket Sonic Boom

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Originally posted: 22 July 2010 This video of the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory’s launch is such a favorite of mine that it was part of the original inspiration for FYFD and was the very first video I posted. Watch closely as the Atlas V rocket climbs. At 1:51 you’ll see a rainbow-like cloud in upper right corner of the screen. This effect is created by sunlight shining through ice crystals of the cloud. A couple seconds later you see pressure waves from the rocket propagate outward and destroy the rainbow effect by re-aligning the ice crystals. Just after that comes the announcement that the vehicle has gone supersonic. The atmospheric conditions of the launch happened to be just right to make those pressure waves coming off the rocket visible just before they coalesced into a leading shockwave. (Video credit: B. Tomlinson)

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