Why Do People No Longer Hear Sonic Booms?

Jerry Gunner/CC-BY 2.0

Sonic booms are rarely heard because they are produced by jets exceeding the speed of sound, and jets are no longer permitted to reach those speeds. Jets flying at certain speeds create sound waves, which are classified as sonic booms when jets exceed the speed of sound. Sonic booms are audible to humans and may be powerful enough to rattle or break windows.

Sonic booms are easy to hear, but cannot be observed by the naked eye. As with other types of sound waves, sonic booms are generally only seen in photographs taken with sophisticated cameras. Sonic booms vary in duration and intensity. Generally, the largest and fastest objects produce the largest sonic booms after breaking the sound barrier.