Sunday, August 8, 2010

Speed of Sound... Or Faster

You know what is a fun science phenomena we get to experience every day here on a military installation?

Sound [obviously] and its speed.

Jets fill the airspace in our neighborhood. Occasionally it will be loud enough to rattle the windows. Or make it so you have to pause while ordering from the drive thru at McDonalds. Or produce crying babies and flustered employees from hitting a sonic boom over the Exchange.

But one of the coolest things is how, as we watch a jet (or six) gliding across the horizon in the California sky, the sound of the jet is always a good, well, not sure of the exact length, but always a good distance behind the jet. You hear the jet in one place, but see it in another.

This has resulted in many impromptu discussions on the speed of sound (and light, for that matter, because they somehow tend to go together). 

Mom is not usually all that fancy in planning crafty science experiments but, in short, we've just observed this frequent phenomena, talked about how sound is a wave and has a speed, talked about how sound is actually just vibration (using our own mouths making an "ahhh" note to illustrate) and how our brain interprets the different vibrations and recognizes them as different sounds.

We've also used the whole talking-through-a-paper-towel-tube thing to learn about sound's behavior more.

But who needs paper towel tubes when you've got F/A-18's?

1 comment:

  1. I remember when we lived in California how cool it was to see the planes and hear the sound difference.

    Thanks for linking up!


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