It’s impossible to forget just how immense the destructive power of a nuclear weapon is, but there is nothing quite like watching an explosion to hit that point home. These videos capture the test detonations of various nuclear weapons, letting us witness the immediate effects safely behind our computer screens.
Three takes of Trinity explosion, the first detonation of a nuclear weapon, on July 16, 1945, in the White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, July 16, 1945
Baker explosion, as a part of Operation Crossroads, a series of two tests at Bikini Atoll in July 1946
George, the world’s first thermonuclear burn, as a part of Operation Greenhouse, May 8, 1951, at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands
Easy, the 31 kt bomb from Operation Buster-Jangle, a series of seven tests between October and November 1951 at the Nevada Test Site
Operation Hurricane, the first British nuclear bomb test, in the lagoon between the Montebello Islands, Australia, 3 October 1952. They’ve used a hollow core, which increased the expected yield of the bomb to 30 kilotons, but the actual was closer to 25.
The mushroom cloud from a 15 kt bomb named Upshot-Knothole Grable, as a part of Operation Upshot-Knothole, at the Nevada Test Site, May 25, 1953. This was the only nuclear artillery shell ever fired in the U.S. nuclear weapons test program.
RDS-6 (also called Joe 4), the first Soviet hydrogen bomb, tested on August 12, 1953, produced a yield of 400 kilotons.
Wahoo and Umbrella, two underwater nuclear tests conducted in May 16, 1958 (Wahoo) and June 8, 1958 (Umbrella), as a part of Operation Hardtack I, a series of 35 tests at the Pacific Proving Grounds.