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Why does a jet look like this when it breaks the sound barrier?

  1. Nov 24, 2005 #1
    This pic is really cool, it looksl ike a cloud. I'm only 17, so dont know much physics, i hope someone can explain this in an easier way. Why does it look like a cloud
     

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  3. Nov 24, 2005 #2

    Danger

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    It is a cloud. The pressure change from supersonic flight can cause moisture to condense out of the air if conditions are right. Take a look a some of the links in the 'sonic boom question' thread.
     
  4. Nov 24, 2005 #3

    enigma

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    I'll guess that it's because there is a rapid pressure drop which causes the moisture in the air to condense.
     
  5. Nov 25, 2005 #4

    Astronuc

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  6. Nov 25, 2005 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Theres a somewhat widespread video of a jet doing a supersonic flyby of an aircraft carrier and you can see the cloud forming.
     
  7. Nov 25, 2005 #6

    Clausius2

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  8. Nov 25, 2005 #7

    ranger

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    That pic looks great for something moving at the speed of sound!! How would one photograph something like this?
     
  9. Nov 25, 2005 #8

    russ_watters

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    There really isn't anything special about taking a picture like that - people take pictures of planes at air shows that are going maybe 3/4 that speed. You'd need a decent camera - with a some good zoom and fast shutter speed. It's just you don't often get the chance to see such a thing going above mach one at low altitude. The sonic boom from a plane that big, if it was really low (500 feet) would probably knock you over and maybe blow-out your eardrums. The only sonic boom I've ever heard was 50 miles off New York, so it was probably a Concorde at 40,000 feet, but it still sounded like nearby fireworks.
     
  10. Nov 25, 2005 #9

    ranger

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    At first I thought we needed a special camera or something to do this. Thanks for clearing it up.
     
  11. Nov 26, 2005 #10

    FredGarvin

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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2005
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