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Video Wonder: What a Sonic Boom Sounds Like

Early afternoon on Thursday, flurries of U.S. east coast residents rushed fearfully into the streets, convinced that an earthquake was making the ground tremble and windows rattle.

Turns out the kerfuffle had nothing to do with an earthquake, but was instead spurred by a series of sonic booms from nearby fighter jets. A sonic boom, in addition to being an animated TV series, is the explosive noise caused by the shock wave from an aircraft zooming forward faster than the speed of sound. One of the jets in question, the F-35C, has a top speed of 1,200 miles per hour.

This video of a U.S. navy jet breaking the sound barrier will familiarize you with the sonic boom, so that next time the navy is conducting supersonic testing, you know exactly what’s up.

Every day we track down a Video Wonder: an audiovisual offering that delights, inspires, and entertains. Have you encountered a video we should feature? Email ella@atlasobscura.com.