What's the science of sound?
Understanding sound waves, sonic booms,
and the speed of sound are key to understanding how X-59 will quiet the boom.
Waves are created when energy is transferred through a medium like water or air. There are two types of waves, transverse and longitudinal (sometimes called pressure or compression waves).
When people think of waves, they often think of transverse waves.
Click each video to see an example and explanation of both types.
Sound waves are longitudinal waves that travel through a medium like air or water.
When we think about sound, we often think about how loud it is (amplitude, or intensity) and its pitch (frequency).
When an airplane flies at or above the speed of sound,
air molecules cannot move out of the way of the airplane fast enough, so the pressure waves combine to generate a large shockwave, which people on the ground hear as a sonic boom.