The Breakthrough

NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center came up with a new technique called “Background-Oriented Schilieren using Celestial Objects (BOSCO),” which uses ground-based cameras with bright light sources or speckled backgrounds like the sun and the moon to capture supersonic shock waves. Doing so in such backdrop aids “visualizing aerodynamic flow phenomena generated by aircraft or other objects passing between the observer’s camera and the backdrop.”

The Implications

Researchers from Armstrong believe that this is much more economical as it lessens the cost of airborne camera platforms, and since the camera is on-ground, an aircraft can be at any altitude as long as it stays at a distance where focus is maintained. Additionally, using a naturally speckled background can lead to a lot more observations per shockwave and an increase with the camera system’s acuity.


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