Glenn Pew – Supersonic Flight Sonic Booms
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[Glenn Pew – Supersonic Flight Sonic Booms]
[Glenn Pew] Source: LYBIO.net
Sound travels at about 760 miles per hour, or 340 meters per second; that’s about 661 knots on an average day at sea level. And sometimes, you can almost see it. Going close to that speed through air can cause some unusual visual effects. What you’re looking at here is a NASA image of an SR-71 bending light waves from the pressure differentials it’s producing. Air’s pressure and temperature both drop when air speed increases. Rapid changes in density can be enough to bend light like a lens.
How does it happen? Airspeed increases as it flows over the form of an aircraft pushing its way near Mach 1, speed of sound. That means that even aircraft slower than the speed of sound can accelerate the air moving over them beyond the speed of sound.
As pressure all around the aircraft drops, that air cools, and as air cools its ability to hold moisture drops. So if there is enough moisture you’ll see it form in clouds that appear attached to the aircraft itself. But the cone shaped clouds you see aren’t in fact traveling with the aircraft. Each section of air is spontaneously reacting to the temperature and pressure change induced by the aircraft’s body sliding past.
Then there are the shockwaves. The shockwaves are formed by the air that can’t get out of the way fast enough forming a pressure wave. We perceive that pressure wave as sound. Aircraft actually usually produce two booms. It just reach us so quickly in succession that we can’t distinguish the two. All these factors are quite normal and have come to be expected in images that capture supersonic, transonic or even near-supersonic flight.
But on rare occasions, we do get a glimpse of something special. At Kennedy Space Center on February 11, 2010, an Atlas rocket launched into ideal conditions for showing off shockwave, and this is the result.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of visual and auditory speed of sound phenomena. Visit AVweb.com for aviation news and inside information for pilots. It’s been Glenn Pew for AVweb.com. Thanks for watching.
Glenn Pew – Supersonic Flight Sonic Booms. Then there are the shockwaves. The shockwaves are formed by the air that can’t get out of the way fast enough forming a pressure wave. We perceive that pressure wave as sound. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.