DR GARY SETTLES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR GARY SETTLES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Supersonic jet, schlieren image. Schlieren photography is an imaging technique that is used to show changes in the density of fluids and gases such as air, caused here by the air movement and turbulence. The 'diamond' patterns here are caused by shock waves in a small vertical supersonic jet of air. Two side-by-side images are shown with different colour adjustments. In each case a double-image of the jet appears because of the wavefront-shearing nature of the optical instrument. The diameter of the air jets is only about 1 millimetre. The colours are due to an optical phenomenon known as Newton's rings.
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