NASA will take images of its quiet supersonic jet's shockwaves

From Engadget - December 19, 2017

The Federal Aviation Administration has placed restrictions on supersonic flights, because they tend to produce powerful shockwaves that people on the ground hear as very loud booms. In 2016, NASA began developing a quiet supersonic jet design with Lockheed Martin under the Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) program. The agency will work with a contractor to bring that design to life as the LBFD jet and expects to start demonstrating what it can do by 2022.

But before anybody can use that technology to create planes that cut current flight times in half, scientists will have to confirm that it can actually do what it was designed for. That's why the agency has been improving upon the "schlieren imaging" method used to visualize elements that are typically invisible, like air flow and shockwaves. NASA's technique is called Background Oriented Schlieren using Celestial Objects or BOSCO. It uses full-sized telescopes and cameras with special hydrogen alpha filter to capture images of shockwaves as a plane flies with the sun in the background.

The technique produces images like this:


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