The F/A-18 is nothing new, but this rarely seen image of it approaching the sound barrier is. The white halo formed by condensed water droplets is thought to result from an increase in air pressure around the aircraft at transonic speeds. In dry air at 20 °C (68 °F), the sound barrier is reached when an object moves at a speed of 343 metres per second (1,125 ft/s). The term came into use in this sense during World War II, when a number of aircraft started to encounter the effects of compressibility, a number of several unrelated aerodynamic effects that “struck” their aircraft like an impediment to further acceleration. Continue reading for more.
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