Awesome Pictures Of Jets Smashing The Sound Barrier

Supersonic plane

Photo: U.S. Navy

For an aeroplane to break the sound barrier, it must hit speeds of about 770 mph — when it does that a couple of things happen.All the air in front of the craft gets pushed together, can’t get out of its own way — and when that magic number gets hit — the air finally breaks free and crashes behind the plane causing a sonic boom.

The boom is literally an explosion of sound waves that travel with the plane as long as it’s flying at that speed.

But the moment that first barrage of air pounds back over the aeroplane it sometimes condenses or sweeps up vapor from the jets engine, moisture in the air, and even sea water — resulting in some pictures like these.

Hat tip to reader Dave Mandoza for clueing us in on this collection of shots.

This F/A-18F Super Hornet flew over visitors aboard the USS Kitty Hawk and stunned everyone with a supersonic demo

Air doesn't move fast enough to flow out of the way and builds into a wall around the plane...

Read more here.

If the temperature and humidity is right, water in the air condenses into a cloud like a white halo

The phenomenon is called the Prandtl-Glauert singularity

You can see water vapor trailing from this F-18 as it passes above the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman

A beautiful shot of a Hornet slicing through the air

While this could make a great Valentine's Day card

And another surrounded by mellow clouds

Like a portal into another dimension

The sound barrier broken off the coast of Southern California by Capt. Scott Conn and Rear Adm. Robert Girrier

And another awesome moment caught on camera during an air power demonstration

Another odd shape of vapor as this F-22 Raptor cuts through the sky and slips past the speed of sound

This snapshot also reminds us that there are 11 weapon stations on a F/A-18F Super Hornet

This jet torrentially whips up air and sea water as it zooms past

BONUS: The carrier USS Carl Vinson's flight deck is covered in fighter jets capable of mach-speed flight — and you can just see a Hornet breaking the sound barrier overhead

Now take a look at life aboard an amphibious assault ship

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