shock diamonds[′shäk ‚dī·mənz]
The shock waves that appear in the exhaust stream of a rocket; they are made visible by their luminosity and describe an approximate diamond configuration in side view.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved