What an Atomic Bomb Explosion Looks Like from Above and Below

On November 5, 1951, a 31 kiloton atomic bomb was dropped in the Nevada Test Site from a B-45 Tornado bomber. A camera in the air was documenting the test, and captured the video above showing what a large nuclear explosion looks like when looking down at it from above. Notice how the camera begins to shake when the shockwave of the blast reaches it.


The detonation was part of Operation Buster-Jangle, a series of seven atomic bomb tests conducted by the US in Nevada in late 1951. “Easy” is the name of the test seen in the video above.

All the tests were well documented by photographers on the ground:



Here are some of the images that resulted:












You can find out more about the Buster-Jangle tests on Wikipedia and over at the Nuclear Weapons Archive.

If you found these shots interesting, be sure to check out our post back in February with photos from the world’s first underwater nuclear explosion.

Image credits: Photographs by the United States Government

  • Vlad Dusil


    I am glad that majority of civilized nations stopped with the nuclear testing. To think that soldiers were in plain sight of these tests is terrifying.

    I met a young kid in his 20s last week in Florence who was born and lives in Hiroshima. Long after the A-bomb was dropped, the aftereffects are still very much visible, as his his teeth were severely deformed.

    A-bombs are bad, uhmkay.

  • Mike

    Yeah, we’re perfectly capable of slaughtering ourselves without such huge explosions with radiation and all the other side effect goodies.

  • Joey Duncan

    You’re right, I mean is it really fair to bring a gun to a knife fight?

  • Richard Sheehan

    And to think they had the troops at these tests run straight at the blast to see what the effects would be. I was asked at the VA once (before the man looked at me) if I was ever involved with Nuclear tests. Sadly we know now what the effects are and I hope no country or crazies ever use one again on anybody.