Feast Your Eyes on This Sunlit Shockwave NASA Just Captured


An image of plane plowing through the sound barrier is awesome enough, but NASA just released a shot that captured the shockwave backlit by the sun. 

It's pretty incredible.

NASA/Ken Ulbrich

The image captures the moment the aircraft ripped through the sound barrier and created a loud sonic boom as it accelerated faster than the speed of sound (about 768 miles per hour). 

What you're seeing are the shockwaves generated by the sonic boom.

NASA is using a modern adaptation of a 150-year-old photography technique to catalog images of shock waves. 


One day you might be able to book a supersonic flight.

Right now, the Federal Aviation Administration restricts supersonic air travel over land because of the loud noise it creates. That's one of the biggest things standing in the way of supersonic commercial travel.

NASA is trying to change that. It's studying shockwave images so it can design an aircraft that can move faster than the speed of sound without producing a jarring sonic boom.