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Defence Research and Development Canada

This Incredible Photo Clearly Shows an Explosion's Shock Wave

17 MARCH 2015

This image of an explosion was captured at the Defence Research and Development Canada, and it shows a strikingly clear depiction of a shock wave blasting out from an explosion, as Katharine Trendacosta writes for io9.

 

A shock wave is essentially a sharp change in pressure travelling through the air as a result of an explosion, or anything that moves faster than the speed of sound. But although you often see a shock wave travel through water, or blast out from the bottom of an explosion, it's very rare to see one so neatly distort the air around an explosion's entire fireball.

The image was captured during an explosives test at the government agency's Experimental Proving Ground, where different types of explosives (and other offence tactics) are trialled in order to help ready Canada's Allied Forces against an attack.

The isolated facility is located on more than 470 square kilometres of rolling prairie, with few trees and mostly clear skies, which makes the perfecting testing ground for explosives and other weaponry. And also, it would seem, for seeing the physics of these explosions in exquisite detail. 

Sources: io9, Defence Research and Development Canada