What is a sonic boom?

A Typhoon. Picture: Archant Library

A Typhoon. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant

RAF Typhoons caused a sonic boom when they were scrambled to help a passenger plane land at Stansted Airport.

What is a sonic boom?

It is a sound that occurs due to shock waves created by an object travelling through the air at a rate faster than the speed of sound.

They often sound like an explosion to the human ear, due to the amount of sound energy generated.

The Typhoon jet can reach a speed of 1.8Mach or 1,381mph.

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David Galloway, a seismologist with the British Geological survey, said sonic booms can be mistaken as a small earthquake by people because they have similar effects.

He said: 'Windows rattle and houses shake. But we can tell the difference as sonic waves don't travel as fast as earthquake waves.

'People usually phone us up when there has been a sonic event and they believed it to have been a small earthquake. But for today's event we got no calls.'

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