Photo of a Nuclear Explosion Less than 1 Millisecond After Detonation

This might look like some kind of microscopic organism, but it’s actually a high-speed photograph of a nuclear explosion. It was captured less than 1 millisecond after the detonation using a rapatronic camera, which is capable of exposure times as brief as 10 nanoseconds (one nanosecond is one billionth of a second). The photograph was shot from roughly 7 miles away during the Tumbler-Snapper tests in Nevada (1952). The fireball is roughly 20 meters in diameter, and three times hotter than the surface of the sun.

(via Wikipedia via Damn Interesting)

  • stanimir stoyanov

    Please tell me there’s a photo of this online.

  • chris


  • lidocaineus

    Uh, we do. It’s called a nuclear reactor.

  • TedNista

    but nuclear reactors don’t create power anywhere near 20x hotter than the surface of the sun. And obviously nuclear reactors are not a sustainable alternative. See Japan, Chernobyl, & others. A nuclear reactor is one example, but surely there are others. There must be other ways to manipulate the tremendous power of an atom. Think. Don’t wallow in what’s been done before. It starts with a hypothesis. Go!

  • lidocaineus

    A nuclear reactor is a controlled, continuous, nuclear explosion. They CAN get to extreme temperatures, just like a bomb. That’s what’s called a meltdown. The sustainable alternative to nuclear fission reactors are nuclear fusion reactors. Those are constantly being researched. Please take a basic physics class.

  • TedNista

    Why would I want to do that again? If you know so much do something about it other than running around bragging about how smart you are. Bragging won’t accomplish anything, except it makes you sound foolish, lazy, and boring. Fusion, fission, it’s all the stuff of comic books for now until someone has the guts to offer a new perspective. Everyone was like you at one point and knew the world was flat. They could go take a class & learn that too. Well education doesn’t have all the answers, in fact, it often leads to more questions.

  • lidocaineus

    I’m not bragging about anything. In fact, I’m referring to the fact that this what you’re asking for is VERY basic, and has been understood for half a century now. Fusion and fission are not the stuff of comic books – nuclear fission is something happening right this second all over the planet in working nuclear reactors.

    When you say “we should harness that energy”, everyone will say “yes, good idea – *we already are doing that*”. What you’re suggesting is clean energy. And the answer to that is fusion. And fusion is being worked on with all sorts of crazy, creative ideas – note that I didn’t discount ANY of them.

    We’re way past harnessing the power of a bomb of this type.I suggested you take a basic physics class because you don’t seem to understand any of this.

  • stre

    The first packet sent between computers at ARPA occurred on 10/29/1969. Only 43 years ago – not 50.

  • stre

    Let’s see. Aside from the Internet, we have video recorders, cellular telephones and smartphones, GPS and mapping, LED lights and LCD displays, genetic engineering and genome sequencing, digital typesetting and printing, MRI and other imaging, and countless others. I think it is a bit naive to say nothing new has happened in the past 60 years.

  • Northwest_Raised

    Had an ex whose uncle took video of a nuke in this same era (late 40s, early 50s). They were about 5-7 miles away on a mountain overlooking the site. Sun in the night!

  • JD

    That’s a lot shorter exposure than 1ms. I think they mean the equipment was 1/1000 of a light second away. My 6 year old Powershot A700 with the CHDK firmware loaded can take high quality pictures at exposures as short as 1/40000 and below (the flash syncs perfectly as well which is fortunate as lighting becomes something of an issue at those speeds). I recently picked up a refurbished SX130 for £60 and that goes well below 1/64000. As well as incorporating a wide variety of exciting design flaws, possibly explaining Canon’s eagerness to get shot of them on EBay for somewhat less than the RRP. Also “High ISO” is basically anything above 100.

  • RJS

    Read “Waldo” by Robert Heinlein

  • zenny

    Yeah, 10 nanoseconds? that’s ages for today’s fastest cameras that are taking frames in picoseconds, and that can now see around corners by reflecting off any flat surface using lasers and computer algorithms. I would love to see that done in the 50s.

  • Bruce Miller

    Americans still selling manned F-35’s sub contracted to Chinese factories, to NATO “Friends”? in an unmanned drone era, these are slow speed target practice!

  • Elliott Davis

    ok what’s the camera, any photograph of that actual camera??