Share
 

Sonic Booms

Credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Supersonic airplane aren't the only things that make noisy shock waves. The supersonic expansion of the superheated air around a lightning bolt creates a shock wave, which we hear as a thunderclap. A firecracker's bang is also caused by a miniature shock wave. So is the crack of a whip.

Explore Activities & Multimedia