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.

First milliseconds of nuclear bomb test fireballs, shot by a Rapatronic camera built by EG&G, used until 1962.

Tsar Bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, exploded on October 30, 1961 in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, Russia

596 (also known as Chic-1), the first Chinese atomic bomb, detonated on October 16, 1964. It had a yield of 22 kilotons. The actual test begins after 2:15 on the video.

The first successful Chinese hydrogen bob test under the codename Test No. 6., with a yield 3.3 megatons, on June 17, 1967

Other American tests

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