During the Cold War, scientists tested atomic bombs in remote areas of the globe. These terrifying and beautiful images were used in research, but they were also used to intimidate anyone who would be stupid enough to challenge the US or USSR in an armed conflict.

High-speed photos by Harold "Doc" Edgerton, taken during the first three milliseconds of Trinity test, July 16, 1945.

(via Edgerton Digital Collections)

0.016 seconds after an explosion at Trinity Site, July 16, 1945.

Photographs of Atomic Bomb Tests Are Like Science Fiction Made Real

(via Wikimedia Commons/Berlyn Brixner)

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Atomic cloud rises during the 'Baker Day' blast at Bikini Island in the Pacific, on July 25, 1946.

Explosion of George, the third of the four explosions during Operation Greenhouse, on May 9, 1951

Ivy Mike, the first test of a thermonuclear weapon, on October 31/November 1, 1952

Ivy King, the detonation of a very high yield pure-fission bomb, November 15, 1952

The 15-kiloton Grable, test fired from a 280 mm cannon on May 25, 1953 as a part of Operation Upshot-Knothole.

Photographs of Atomic Bomb Tests Are Like Science Fiction Made Real

(via National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office Photo Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Castle Bravo, the first American test of a dry fuel hydrogen bomb, detonated at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, March 1, 1954.

Castle Romeo, a test of the TX-17 thermonuclear weapon, March 27, 1954

(via United States Department of Energy/Wikimedia Commons)

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Radioactive clouds at the Bikini Atoll on May 21, 1956

Licorne, a test of a 914 kiloton thermonuclear bomb in the Mururoa Atoll, French Polynesia, July 3, 1970

(via Pierre J/Flickr)