Theoretical Gunshot with Thunder

  • Thread starter Melosh3
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  • #1
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Hey, I found this site while studying for my physics midterm, but then I can across an interesting question in a video game.

In Battlefield:Bad Company 2, there is a mission where you have to snipe somebody but do it so nobody hears a gunshot, you accomplish this by firing when you see lightning, and the sound of the thunder masks the sound of the gunshot

Reference video here: (Some explicit language just btw)

However, when i thought about it, I dont think that would work, I mean, you would hear it at the same time, but unless the lightning struck as the bullet fired right on top of the person, wouldn't the other people hear it?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
DavidSnider
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You hear thunder slightly after you see lightning because sound travels slower than light. A rough way to estimate how far away in miles a lightning strike is from you is to count the seconds and divide by 5.

Considering that the furthest confirmed sniper shot was about 1.5 miles away, I would say the difference in time between you and the "watchers" is negligible compared to the distance of the lightning from them.

The tricky part would be figuring out how far the lightning is from them based just on looking so you can time it with the thunder.
 
  • #3
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If the difference in time is negligible then wouldn't the distance from the lightning not matter? Thunder is pretty long, so if the difference isn't too much as long as you pulled the trigger fairly quickly it would work right?
 
  • #4
DavidSnider
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If you pulled it right as soon as you heard the thunder (not when you see the lightning) the chances would be pretty good that they would be pretty close together.

But you would want the shot to coincide with the "crack" sound rather than the rumble of thunder.
 
  • #5
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You know you range to the target. If the lightning is further away from the target then you are, you delay the trigger pull by your estimate for the difference x 5 seconds/mile. If the strike is closer to the target than you are then you can't mask the sound of the shot.
 

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