The Harrier is a massive Rolls Royce "Pegasus" turbofan engine with wings. Although not supersonic, the AV-8B has almost 24k lbs of thrust to play with even though it has no afterburner. This makes it very well suited for hauling ass down low, below radar and close to the targets it was built to destroy. In doing so some crazy visual phenomena can occur.
In this picture, taken by fellow aviation photog Alan Kenny (make sure to take a look at all his work here and subscribe to his aviation facebook page here), an AV-8B Night Attack Harrier belonging to test and evaluation squadron VX-31 "Dust Devils" out of NAWS China Lake, performs a knife edge transit through Rainbow Canyon, otherwise known as the "Jedi Transition."
You can actually see light being bent by the turbulent airflow caused by the engines massive suction on the outside edges of the intakes. What is even more incredible, is that you can see the air being stacked up in frequency-like layers, almost like liquid, in front of the engine's huge first-stage fan face.
The Harrier is literally trying to gulp more air than it can consume.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.comr