On Wednesday, residents of Bengaluru were left stunned after a loud boom echoed the city. The source, which reports suggest come from Whitefield, could be heard in a 17 km radius.
While netizens initially thought it was a blast, there were no reports of casualties, and even the police said that they hadn’t received any complaints.
It was later that it was revealed that some fighter jets were going through some training programme and one of them flew quickly, releasing a sonic boom.
While gamers may associate the term sonic boom with the power-up move by Guile, the main protagonist in Street Fighter, who also plays a US fighter pilot, there is so much more to the term.
A sonic boom is that boom-like sound produced when a jet fighter travels faster than the speed of sound. It is caused by shockwaves that are created by an object – usually a jet fighter – and create huge amounts of shock energy.
A sonic boom is created when an object moving at that speed through air, makes pressure waves in front and behind it. These pressure waves travel at the speed of sound, which is not the speed of light, but quite rapid in its own right.
The sonic boom is caused when the plane releases the pressure waves. The first boom is caused by change in air pressure as the nose of the plane reaches the pressure wave and the second boom is caused by the change in pressure that occurs when the tail of the plane passes the wave and the tail of the plan passes the wave and air pressure returns to normal
At supersonic speeds (those greater than the local sound speed), there is no sound heard as an object approaches an observer because the object is traveling faster than the sound it produces. Only after the object has passed will the observer be able to hear the sound waves emitted from the object. These time periods are often referred to as the zone of silence and the zone of action. When the object has passed over the observer, the pressure disturbance waves (Mach waves) radiate toward the ground, causing a sonic boom. The region in which someone can hear the boom is called the boom carpet. The intensity of the boom is greatest directly below the flight path and decreases on either side of it.
Interestingly, while we can hear the boom, the pilot flying the plane cannot. They can, however, see the pressure waves around the plane. .