The First Millisecond of a Nuclear Explosion Is the True Face of Atomic Death

Illustration for article titled The First Millisecond of a Nuclear Explosion Is the True Face of Atomic Death

This is fascinating, a nuclear explosion from the Tumbler-Snapper tests performed in Nevada during 1952. It looks different from all nuclear explosions you've seen because it's what it looks like one millisecond after detonation. It looks like a skull by Tim Burton.

The face of atomic death just one second away from unleashing its absolute destruction.

Only one millisecond after the bomb explodes, this 65.6-foot (20 meters) ball of fire appears in midair, with spikes that look like rotten teeth or stalactites of fire (called the rope trick effect).

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The explosion was captured by a Rapid Action Electronic camera—a high speed device designed to photograph nuclear explosions just milliseconds after ignition.

What's a Rapid Action Electronic camera?

Illustration for article titled The First Millisecond of a Nuclear Explosion Is the True Face of Atomic Death

The rapatronic camera, as it is called, was created by Harold Edgerton in the 1940s using two polarizing filters and Kerr cell instead of a shutter, which is too slow for this job. A Kerr cell is a panel that changes its polarization depending on the voltage applied. This acts as a very high speed shutter, which allows the perfect exposition to capture this moment. [Wikipedia via Damn Interesting via Petapixel]

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nfletcher2
Goger Roodell

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And I had something constructive to say about the article that no one had mentioned but I am scared for my commenting life now! lol