There have been a few pictures posted here in the past of aircraft showing what was claimed to be a sonic boom cloud. Some members on the board have
claimed they were fakes as the aircraft in the photos were not capable of supersonic speeds and others on the board correctly pointed out that they
were condensation clouds.
The site below has several photographs of aircraft exhibiting the phenomena they refer to as transonic condensation clouds. The photos on the site are
much larger than the ones I posted but should still be OK for dial-up users.
Great pics. I love seeing those pics. I ALMOST got an amazing one, but right as I was trying to focus the batteries in my camera died. It was
during an airshow last year, with the Blue Angels flying. One of the solo birds came screaming in from the mountains, on an overcast day, and was
totally surrounded by the cloud. I was pissed when my batteries died.
They are not fake, its happens when the speed and atmospheric condition are right. I have seen F-14 footage when it was doing a fly by and as it was
going into the transonic region and as it swept back its wings a circular cloud briefly formed around it for a few seconds.
And here is a link that explains why and how a condensation cloud occurs.
Now you notice that most of the planes in our pictures are navy planes, there is more water vapor over an ocean and the more likely that a
condensation cloud will occur.
In the upper left corner of the last photo (September 14, 2005; USN Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet with a Prandtl-Glauert cloud) is a puzzling
"something" that perhaps a reader can explain. While somewhat visible in the photo on that page, click on it or any of the associated links (e.g.,
chamorrobible.org...) to see larger images. Here's one of the images:
See the circular "something" in the upper left corner? What is it? Is it a cloud or ballon? Another jet with a Prandtl-Glauert cloud?
To get a really close look see the original photo, which is huge:
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