Nuclear Tests Photo Gallery

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Trinity Nuclear Explosion

Photos of Atomic Explosions "Trinity" was the first nuclear test explosion. This famous photograph was taken by Jack Aeby, July 16, 1945, a member of the Special Engineering Detachment at Los Alamos laboratory, working on the Manhattan Project. US Department of Energy

Atomic Explosions

This photo gallery showcases nuclear tests and other atomic explosions including atmospheric nuclear tests and underground nuclear tests.

02
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Trinity Explosion

Trinity was part of the Manhattan Project.
Trinity was part of the Manhattan Project. Very few color images of the Trinity explosion exist. This is one of several spectacular black and white photos. This photo was taken 0.016 seconds after the explosion, July 16, 1945. Los Alamos National Laboratory

03
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Operation Castle - Romeo Event

The 11-megaton Romeo Event was part of Operation Castle.
Photos of Atomic Explosions The 11-megaton Romeo Event was part of Operation Castle. Romeo was detonated from a barge near Bikini atoll on March 26, 1954. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

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Operation Upshot-Knothole - Grable Event

The Grable Event took place May 25, 1953 as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole.
Photos of Atomic Explosions The Grable Event took place May 25, 1953 as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole. The first atomic artillery shell was fired from a 280 mm gun, airburst, weapons related, 15 kiloton. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

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Operation Upshot-Knothole - Badger Event

This is the fireball from the Badger nuclear test.
Nuclear Explosions This is the fireball from the Badger nuclear test, which took place April 18, 1953 at the Nevada Test Site. Department of Energy, Nevada Site Office

06
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Operation Buster-Jangle - Charlie Event

Charlie Test, Operation Buster-Jangle
Photos of Atomic Explosions The Charlie test explosion resulted from a 14 kiloton device dropped from a B-50 bomber on October 30, 1951 at Yucca Flat the Nevada Test Site. (Operation Buster-Jangle). US Department of Energy

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Operation Crossroads - Baker Event

The Baker Event of Operation Crossroads was a 21 kiloton underwater nuclear weapons effects test.
Photos of Atomic Explosions The Baker Event of Operation Crossroads was a 21 kiloton underwater nuclear weapons effects test conducted at Bikini Atoll (1946). Note the ships that are visible in the photo. US Govt. Defense Threat Reduction Agency

08
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Operation Plumbbob - Priscilla Event

The Priscilla Event (Operation Plumbbob) was a 37 kiloton device exploded from a balloon.
Photos of Atomic Explosions The Priscilla Event (Operation Plumbbob) was a 37 kiloton device exploded from a balloon at the Nevada Test Site, June 24, 1957. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

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Operation Hardtack - Umbrella Event

The Umbrella event was an explosion resulting from a shallow depth underwater shot.
Photos of Atomic Explosions The Umbrella event was an explosion resulting from a shallow depth underwater shot (150 ft.), June 8, 1958, at Enewetak. The yield was 8 kilotons. US Department of Energy

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Operation Redwing - Dakota Event

This is a photo of the U.S. nuclear test
This is a photo of the U.S. nuclear test "Dakota" during Operation Redwing, June 26, 1956. Dakota was a 1.1 megaton yield explosion at the Bikini Atoll. Nuclear Weapon Archive

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Operation Teapot - Wasp Prime

Operation Teapot's Wasp Prime was an air-dropped nuclear device at Nevada Test Site March 29, 1955.
Operation Teapot's Wasp Prime was an air-dropped nuclear device that exploded at the Nevada Test Site on March 29, 1955. I don't think hiding behind a joshua tree conferred much protection. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

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Operation Teapot Test

The lines that you see in this and several other photos are vapor trails of sounding rockets.
The National Nuclear Security Administration refers to this image as an Operation Teapot test, so I'm not positive which event this is. The lines that you see in this and several other photos are vapor trails of sounding rockets. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

Sounding rockets or smoke flares may be launched just before a device explodes so that their vapor trails may be used to record the passage of the otherwise invisible shock wave.

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Operation Ivy - Mike Event

Operation Ivy's
Operation Ivy's "Mike" shot was an experimental thermonuclear device that was fired on Enewetak on October 31, 1952. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

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Operation Ivy - Mike Event

The 3-1/4 mile diameter fireball from Mike was the largest ever produced.
Nuclear Explosions The 3-1/4 mile diameter fireball from Mike was the largest ever produced. The destructive effects were so great that the test island disappeared. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

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Operation Ivy - King Event

This photo was taken from a distance from Operation Ivy's King explosion.
This photo was taken from a distance from Operation Ivy's King explosion, which resulted from a weapons related air-drop on Enewetak on 11/15/1952. Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

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Hiroshima Atomic Mushroom Cloud

This is a photo of the mushroom cloud resulting from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
This is a photo of the mushroom cloud resulting from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan 08/06/1945. At the time this picture was taken, the rising column extends 20,000 feet in the air while the blast on the ground radiates out 10,000 feet. US National Archives

Six planes from the 509th Composite Group participated in the bombing mission that ultimately detonated an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The plane that carried the bomb was the Enola Gay. The mission of The Great Artiste was to take scientific measurements. Necessary Evil photographed the mission. Three other planes flew about an hour ahead of the Enola Gay, The Great Artiste, and Necessary Evil to scout the weather. Visual delivery was required for this mission, so overcast conditions would disqualify the target. The primary target was Hiroshima. The secondary target was Kokura. The tertiary target was Nagasaki.

17
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Hiroshima Atomic Cloud

This is a photo of the atomic cloud from the bombing of Hiroshima.
This is a photo of the atomic cloud from the bombing of Hiroshima, taken through a window of one of the three B-29s on the bombing run. US Air Force

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Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Explosion

This is a photo taken of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945.
This is a photo taken of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. The picture was taken from one of the B-29 Superfortresses used in the attack. Yanker Poster Collection (Library of Congress)

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Tumbler Snapper Rope Tricks

This photo of a Tumbler-Snapper nuclear test shows a fireball and rope trick effects.
Nuclear Explosions This nuclear detonation from the Tumbler-Snapper test series (Nevada, 1952) shows a fireball and 'rope trick' effects. This photo was taken less than 1 millisecond after nuclear detonation. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The 'rope trick effect' refers to the lines and spikes which emanate from the bottom of the fireball of some nuclear explosions just after detonation. The rope trick results from the heating, vaporization, and expansion of mooring cables that extend from the housing that contains the explosive device. Physicist John Malik noted that when the rope was painted black, spike formation was enhanced. If the cables were coated with reflective paint or were wrapped in aluminum foil, then no spikes were observed. This confirmed the hypothesis that the visible radiation heated and vaporized the rope and caused the effect. Underground, atmospheric, and surface-detonated explosions do not display the rope trick - because there is no rope.

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Tumbler-Snapper Charlie

Tumbler-Snapper Charlie Blast
Tumbler-Snapper Charlie explosion immediately after H-hour, 0930 hours, the famous mushroom cloud rises above the earth at Nevada Proving Grounds, April 22, 1952. This was the first televised atomic bomb test. US DOE/NNSA

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Joe-1 Atomic Blast

First Soviet atomic bomb test First Lightning or Joe-1
First Soviet atomic bomb test First Lightning or Joe-1.

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Joe 4 Nuclear Test

This is a photograph of the RDS-6s device or Joe 4.
This is a photograph of the RDS-6s device, the fifth Soviet nuclear test which was called Joe 4 in the US. unknown, believed to be public domain

Joe 4 was a tower-type test. The RDS-6s employed the sloika or layer cake design which was a U-235 fissile core surrounded by alternating layers of fusion fuel and tamper inside of a high-explosive implosion unit. The fuel was lithium-6 deuteride spiked with tritium. The fusion tamper was natural uranium. A ~40 kiloton U-235 fission bomb acted as the trigger. The total yield of Joe 4 was 400 Kt. 15-20% of the energy was directly released by fusion. 90% of the energy was related to the fusion reaction.

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Nuclear Explosion in Space

Hardtack-Orange Shot, Aug 12, 1958.
U.S. Nuclear Tests This is a photo of the Hardtack-Orange nuclear explosion, one of the few nuclear shots into space. 3.8 Mt, 43 km, Johnston Atoll, Pacific Ocean. Hardtack was a US high-altitude nuclear test. The Soviets conducted similar tests. US Government

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Atomic Bomb Cake

This cake was served at a party in 1946 to celebrate the success of the atomic testing program.
This cake was served at a Washington party November 5, 1946 to celebrate the success of the atomic testing program and the disbanding of the Joint Army-Navy Task Force Number One which organized and oversaw the first postwar atomic test in the Pacific. Harris and Ewing Studios

You can bake and decorate a cake so that it looks like an atomic bomb explosion. It's an easy cooking project.

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Tsar Bomba Mushroom Cloud

This is the mushroom cloud resulting from the Russian Tsar Bomba explosion.
This is the mushroom cloud resulting from the Russian Tsar Bomba explosion, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. The 100 megaton intended yield of Tsar Bomba was intentionally reduced to 50 megatons to limit nuclear fallout from the bomb. Soviet Union, 1961

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Tsar Bomba Fireball

This is the fireball from the Russian Tsar Bomba explosion (RDS-220). Tsar Bomba was dropped from over 10 km and detonated at 4 km. Its fireball did not reach the surface, although it extended nearly to the altitude of the Tu-95 bomber that deployed it. Soviet Union, 1961