The visibility of the white cone of the shock wave relies upon low-altitude atmospheric conditions and speeds (transonic) near the speed of sound and a very good photographer. The phenomenon is known as the Prandtl-Glauert singularity. This F/A-18C Hornet was photographed from the USS Constellation (CVN 64) by Ensign John Gay.
F/A-18C Hornet: Flying the single-seat Hornet, the VFA-137 "Kestrels," VFA-151 "Vigilantes" and VMFA (USMC) "Death Rattlers" offer the premier power projection arm to the battle group commander. Capable of delivering precision weapons day or night, the F/A-18C has the state-of-the-art air-to-air/air-to-ground weapons suite.
F/A-18 Hornet breaks the sound barrier
Photographer: Ensign John Gay