Dramatic Imagery from NASA of Supersonic Shock Waves
This schlieren image of a T-38C was captured using the patent-pending BOSCO technique and then processed with NASA-developed code to reveal shock wave structures.
NASA is using a 150-year-old photographic technique with a few 21st century tweaks to capture unique and stunning images of the shockwaves created by supersonic aircraft.
Called schlieren imagery, the technique can be used to visualize supersonic airflow with full-scale aircraft in flight. Usually, this can only be done in wind tunnels using scale models, but being able to study real-sized aircraft flying through Earth’s atmosphere provides better results, and can help engineers design better and quieter supersonic planes.
And a side benefit is that the images are amazing and dramatic, creating a little “shock” and awe.
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