Atmospheric Effect of Sonic Boom Propagation

When the actual temperature variations and wind variations occur in the atmosphere are taken into consideration, the cone pattern of the front shock wave can become significantly distorted. This is way when it is a propagating shock wave descending towards the earth, the different portions of the shock wave travels at different speeds. The wave closest to the ground will move much faster than the rest of the portions of the same shock wave.
When the sound speed also decrease much faster with altitude, the shock wane front can possible become perpendicular to the ground. When this occur it means the shock wave will never reach the ground as it will start travelling parallel to the ground, before it reaches the ground. The physical requirements for this type of effect are very unlikely, regardless of any or extreme and abnormal atmospheric conditions. Inevitably will a sonic boom be created if any object or aircraft move through the earth’s atmosphere at parallel level while travelling faster than the speed of light.
The sound speed’s decrease with altitude will also affect the portion of the front part of the wave spreading out to sides of a plane. Investigations of this effect during conditions where no wind is present showed that the lateral part of the sonic boom measured at ground level will range from approximately ten to thirty-five miles on either side of the ground track left by the plane.
It is also determined that the shock wave’s intensity will significantly diminish as it is spreading out. This will also result on the sonic boom to be less intense on the sides of the flight track created. If the wind is present on the other hand, the front of the shock wave will progress at rates which are the sum of the wind speed and the sound of speed.

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