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Allegedly, this is a photograph of the beginning of a nuclear detonation. It was taken in 1952 during the Tumbler-Snapper tests in Nevada. At this point, the fireball is about sixty-six feet across. How was the photographer able to get a shutter speed fast enough to do it? He used a Kerr cell, which is a device that uses polarizing filters to block the passage of light.

von Print Magazine

Four Photographs of an Atomic Bomb



Photo of a Nuclear Explosion Less than 1 Millisecond After Detonation Captured less than 1 millisecond after the detonation using a rapatronic camera, which is capable of exposure times as brief as 10 nanoseconds. The photograph was shot from roughly 7 miles away during tests in Nevada (1952). The fireball is roughly 20 meters in diameter, and three times hotter than the surface of the sun.

The rapatronic camera is a high-speed camera capable of recording a still image with an exposure time as brief as 10 nanoseconds (billionths of a second).

von io9

The camera that captured the first millisecond of a nuclear bomb blast

The first few milliseconds of a nuclear explosion. Captured with a rapatronic camera.


This photo of the fireball of the Greenhouse "George" shot was taken 30 milliseconds after the detonation. This test device was among the United States' first thermonuclear experiments. The yield was 225 kilotons (kt), a record held until the Ivy Mike test on November 1, 1952.


Harold Edgerton, 'Explosion of Atomic Bomb' (1952) #experimentsinmotion #motion


It's The Bomb! Vintage Explosion Photos

High-speed rapatronic camera, manufactured by Edgerton, Germeshausen and Grier Inc. Boston.