This study is devoted to the numerical analysis of the result of light distribution after passing it through a shock wave, depending on the degree of gas rarefaction. The obtained numerical results allowed reproducing the experimental shadowgraph images obtained in our study. The range of shock wave thickness (from 0 mm to 20 mm) allowed considering the qualitative change in the light distribution on the screen during switching from the regime where the wave nature of light has the greatest influence on the distribution of light to the regime of the geometric optics approach. As a result, the criteria for the applicability of the shadowgraphy technique for the experimental description of the shock wave internal structure were obtained.

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