shock diamonds

shock diamonds
A commonly observed diamond-shaped reflection, brilliantly luminous from an afterburner of jet engines, the exhaust of rockets, and space shuttles. These shock diamonds are disc-shaped shock waves, called Mach discs, which are formed as shock waves and re-reflect in the exhaust. Because the shock discs raise the temperature of gases moving through them, excess fuel is ignited, causing the glow recognized as shock diamonds.

Aviation dictionary. 2014.

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