Years ago as I sat on a plane taxiing at Heathrow, I caught a glimpse of a Concorde out on the tarmac. My classmates couldn’t understand why I was so Keep reading
Schlieren optical systems have been used to visualize shock waves in labs for more than a century, but the technique did not translate well to photographing shock structures outside the Keep reading
Schlieren photography is a common method of visualizing shock waves in wind tunnel experiments, but it’s much harder to pull off for aircraft in the sky. This video from NASA Keep reading
Schlieren photography allows visualization of density gradients, such as the sharp ones created by shock waves off this T-38 aircraft flying at Mach 1.1 around 13,000 ft. Although shock waves are Keep reading
Moving supersonically–faster than the local speed of sound–can cause some awesome effects. Among these are vapor cones (a.k.a. Prandlt-Glauert singularities), shock waves, and, of course, the sonic boom.
The shock waves propagating in front of an Atlas V rocket after launch decimate a rainbow-like effect called a sun dog. #