The Future Is Here
We may earn a commission from links on this page

See a nuclear explosion from 10 feet away

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Ever wonder what a nuclear explosion looks like from far, far too close? Remarkably like candy. Writer Richard Miller has sent in an amazing photo taken in an underground test facility.


The many tests of nuclear bombs over the past three-quarters of a century have been filmed in many ways. There are photos of the bombs in full mushroom cloud from far away, and pictures from a few yards away depicting the first few milliseconds of an explosion. This photo, obtained as research by writer Richard Miller, was taken from 10 feet away. Miller describes the process.

While writing The Atomic Express, I wanted to find out what a nuke detonation looked like from 10 feet away. Los Alamos photographer Bill Jack Hawkins obliged by sending a photo of an underground detonation shot from, well, ten feet away. They used fiber optics and captured the scene milliseconds before the heat destroyed the fiber cable. The photo resembles nothing more than a “Willie Wonka Gobstopper.”


The image displayed is amazing, but the association is sobering, to say the least. Many thanks to Richard Miller for sharing this with io9. If you want to read The Atomic Express, you can pick it up here.