Thursday, July 2, 2009

Prandtl-Glauert Singularity

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


The prevailing scientific opinion is that the Prandtl-Glauert singularity (a.k.a "vapor cone") is what causes the visible condensation cloud often seen in the vicinity of space shuttle launches, nuclear blasts, and aircraft traveling at transonic speeds.

Don't ask me what all that means (though you can read the source above if you would like to wrestle with it), but it makes for some impressive visuals.

FA-18 Hornet breaking the sound barrier

The Launch of Apollo 11

Operation Crossroads

Personally, I think it could be a rift in the space-time continuum.


Patti Petersen said...

Remember the days when we were kids and jets would often break the sound barrier? What an impressive sound that would make! One time, when Spudnik was expected to fall out of orbit onto the States, I lived in fear of being crushed by the dreadful Spudnik and went about anxiously looking up so that I could dodge the debris. Wouldn't you know it? One day while I was outside, a jet went over and broke the sound barrier. Dodge debris my foot! I was sure I had been toasted by the dreadful spudnik and cowered on the ground waiting to be crushed. Such a silly little goose, but it sure made an impression!

Sean said...

To the contrary: I think it is very sensible to recognize that a falling satellite will crush you.

Delightful story!