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shockwaves in the solar wind

 

Now to add to the fun, the fast and slow winds can run into each other at very high speeds. When this happens, the two winds get compressed and cause a shockwave.

 

A shockwave in science is an event which moves very quickly, carries a lot of energy, causes a massive disturbance and leaves behind a lot of turbulence in its wake.
A simple example of a shockwave here on Earth is when an aircraft accelerates to supersonic speed. This gives rise to a shockwave which propagates far away from the airplane and is known as a sonic boom.

Shockwaves
 
           

This movie shows the fly-past of a jet aircraft. Notice the silent approach of the plane, showing that it is already flying faster than the speed of sound. The crash of the sonic boom occurs after the aircraft passes the camera position - the plane is travelling faster than sound.

  You can see more movies in our Gallery   Movie High Quality  
 

What do we mean by a shockwave when we’re not talking physics? Take a look at this news headline...

 
Hot News :: Hot News

England football players Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard

Awesome England thrash Germany

Germany 1-5 England
Michael Owen blasted a stunning hat-trick as England came from behind to thrash Germany in Munich.

Sven Goran Eriksson's team are now on course to qualify for the World Cup next year, following a result that will send shockwaves through the international game.

Germany had only ever lost one World Cup qualifier at home in their history - but suddenly they were torn apart by an England team playing slick football with a clinical edge up front.

 

 

Shockwaves are also very important in astronomy. When a supernova explosion takes place, hot gas shoots out into space and forms a shockwave when it hits any nearby gas.This can heat up the material to 90 million degrees and at that temperature it radiates in X-rays. Here is an X-ray image of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, as seen by NASA's newest X-ray telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory. This object is approximately 10 light-years across and is roughly 10,000 light-years from Earth.

   
   
 
 
 

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