Posted by: Calvin | February 19, 2008

Sonic Boom and Other Florida Sounds

Tomorrow morning my town may experience a sonic boom.  I am glad I read about that possibility in the newspaper this evening, so I am “in the know” if it happens.  It is anticipated tomorrow at about 8:55 AM, which is about 10 minutes before the space shuttle Atlantis is expected to land at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  If all goes well, Atlantis will follow a path like this:


If you have ever heard a sonic boom, then you know why it is good to have advanced warning.  I will never forget the first time I heard — and felt — a sonic boom.  I was clueless.  It was loud and shook my house.  Obtuse thoughts as to what had just happened went through my mind.  Instead of calling 911 (like I understand many others do after a sonic boom), I went over to Garage Guy’s house across the street to ask him if I was nuts or if he had heard and felt what I just had heard and felt.  Of course, he chuckled then gave me a 28 minute detailed response to my simple question.  (Garage Guy is one of those people that gives detailed explanations of all matters scientific.)  Here is the short version paraphrased from the article in the local mullet wrapper:  As the orbiter slices through the atmosphere faster than the speed of sound, you hear a sonic boom — really, two distinct claps less than a second apart.

I am ready and will now look forward to it!


This brings to mind another peculiar sound that one hears on occasion in Florida:  The sound of mosquito planes flying low to spray the wooded areas with pesticides.  I will never forget the first time I was awaken to the sound of a mosquito plane diving down to spray the nature preserve behind my house.  It sounded like a war plane diving over my house to drop a boom.  I was sure I was a goner! 

Other sounds added to the list of sounds I had not heard until I moved to Florida:

  • the mating calls of alligators
  • the mating sounds of manatees
  • the squawking of an annoyed blue heron
  • the morning calls of the lemurs at the local zoo (heard at the baseball field on Saturday mornings)
  • the splashing sounds of a lone mullet jumping out of the water

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