Science & Technology
NASA photographs supersonic shockwaves
By T.K. Randall
March 7, 2019 · 2 comments
This image shows the shockwaves from two aircraft interacting. Image Credit: NASA
Scientists have managed to capture breathtaking images of supersonic shockwaves interacting with one another.
The images, which will help NASA develop new types of supersonic aircraft which do not create a deafening sonic boom when they cross the sound barrier, were obtained using a special technique known as Schlieren photography.
The photographs show, for the first time ever, how shockwaves from two separate aircraft interact.
"We never dreamt that it would be this clear, this beautiful," said NASA scientist JT Heineck.
"I am ecstatic about how these images turned out. With this upgraded system, we have, by an order of magnitude, improved both the speed and quality of our imagery from previous research."
The images show the shockwaves produced by two T-38s flying at supersonic speeds.
"We're looking at a supersonic flow, which is why we're getting these shockwaves," said NASA research engineer Neal Smith. "What's interesting is, if you look at the rear T-38, you see these shocks kind of interact in a curve."
"This is because the trailing T-38 is flying in the wake of the leading aircraft, so the shocks are going to be shaped differently. This data is really going to help us advance our understanding of how these shocks interact."
Source: Sky News
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