Scientists have finally filmed what’s known as a “sonic boom” being created by light. But the breakthrough with the most immediate potential may be the camera itself.
The explosive sound that is normally associated with a sonic boom occurs when an object goes faster than the speed of sound. An object that breaks the sound barrier is pushing the surrounding air away and it creates pressure waves in front of and behind the object. When these waves travel at such high speeds, they can’t avoid each other. When they come together, they become a single ear-splitting shock wave known as a Mach cone.