Why can we see shockwaves, and when we see them, what exactly are we really seeing?

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Why can we see shockwaves, and when we see them, what exactly are we really seeing?

In: Physics

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In moist air, shockwaves can make the water condense out, which leaves a visible disturbance your eye can see. The pressure changes how the water is held in the air.

A shockwave changes the density of the air, basically turning it into a sort of lens. Light changes direction whenever it passes through a different medium, which is why looking through a glass of water makes things behind it look weird. By compressing and then decompressing the air, the shockwave can bend the light passing through it, making it visible to us.