What is a sonic boom?

A sonic boom was heard across Yorkshire last night.
A sonic boom was heard across Yorkshire last night.
Have your say

Homes shook across Yorkshire last night as RAF planes were scrambled to the aid of a North East-bound plane.

The civilian aircraft, which had problems with its radio communication, was guided to safety at Newcastle Airport by two Typhoon jets.

But now everyone wants to know, what exactly caused the giant sound?

Let's make it simple!

READ MORE: Typhoon jets ready for action around the clock to protect UK airspace

A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object travelling through the air faster than the speed of sound.

Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion.

When an aircraft passes through the air it creates a series of pressure waves in front of it and behind it, similar to the bow and stern waves created by a boat.

These waves travel at the speed of sound, and as the speed of the object increases, the waves are forced together, or compressed, because they cannot get out of the way of each other.

Eventually they merge into a single shock wave, which travels at the speed of sound, a critical speed known as Mach 1, and is approximately 761mph at sea level and 20 °C.