This is what the shockwaves from a supersonic jet look like
NASA photographs shockwaves using a technique from the 19th century
NASA used a 150-year-old technique to photograph this incredible image of the shockwaves from a supersonic jet.
The photo is of a USAF Test Pilot School T-38C aircraft flying over California's Mojave Desert at supersonic speeds, and the shockwaves emanating from it as it flies.
It was captured using Schlieren imaging, a technique invented in 1864 by German physicist August Toepler, which can visualize shockwaves using rays of refracted light.
According to NASA, the photo was taken from another aircraft flying at subsonic speeds above the jet, using "different lens/altitude combinations and knife-edge aircraft maneuvers" to capture the image.
The information gathered will help engineers design a quieter supersonic aircraft.