Shock Wave Images Help NASA in Development of ‘Quiet’ Supersonic Jet

NASA(NEW YORK) -- NASA is relying on a century-old imaging technique as the aerospace agency works to develop a next-generation supersonic jet that can break the sound barrier with a soft "thump" instead of a sonic boom.

A technique called schlieren imagery allows NASA to "visualize supersonic flow phenomena with full-scale aircraft in flight" with the sun as the backdrop for the photos. Seeing shock waves and their density is crucial to the project so engineers can work on a design to minimize those reverberations, according to a NASA blog post explaining the project.

While the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) research aircraft is being developed, the testing has resulted in stunning images of a supersonic jet flying at Mach 1.05 with the sun in the background.

One image taken from a camera on the ground shows the result of the jet's sonic boom. A second photo using schlieren imagery shows the jet appearing to pierce the sun as it leaves behind a trail of shock waves.

The ultimate goal: NASA says when QueSST is operational, it could "unlock the future to commercial supersonic flight over land," essentially ushering in a new era of aviation that could allow us to get from one place to another faster without the loud roar of the Concorde, which was retired in 2003.

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California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfires

California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfiresGoogle Earth(NEW YORK) -- Ravaged by a slew of deadly wildfires in recent days, northern California is set to get a bit of relief this week in the form of rain.

A storm system is expected to move over the Pacific Northwest later this week and the trailing cold front will most likely bring some much-needed rain to northern California between Thursday and Friday, according to ABC meteorologists.

"It will rain a bit but not enough to fully douse the blazes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "The biggest advantage to firefighters will be the increase in humidity and lower temperatures."

Massive wildfires have charred more than 245,000 acres of land statewide in the past week, killing at least 41 people and destroying thousands of homes, according to authorities.

Firefighters were battling about a dozen wildfires as of late Tuesday evening, although most of them were more than halfway contained.

“The weather today will be warm with low humidity, which will continue to challenge firefighters, but only light winds are forecast,” CalFire said in a statement on Tuesday. “A chance of precipitation is expected to arrive later in the week, bringing relief from the dry conditions.”

The northern parts of the Golden State, which has bared the brunt of the fire damage, is forecast to see an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather later in the week, according to AccuWeather.

Spotter from Los Osos was reporting sprinkles from this high level moisture. Dry at lower levels. Rain evaporates. Also called "Virga" #cawx

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 18, 2017

However, a return of dry air, heat and areas of gusty winds could once again raise the wildfire danger early next week, meteorologists said.

Separately, a band of moisture, referred to as Atmospheric River by weather experts, is currently stretching between Asia and North America. It’s expected to bring several storm systems into many parts of the Pacific Northwest through the rest of the week.

The first of these storms have already hit the Pacific Northwest with wind gusts of between 40 and 74 mph.

A number of wind warnings and flood watches are in effect in the western and northern parts of the U.S. ahead of the storm.

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