Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have published 62 newly declassified videos of US atmospheric nuclear test films, never-before-seen by the public.
The videos are the second batch of scientific films to be published on the LLNL’s YouTube channel this year, and the team plans to release the remaining videos of the tests as they are scanned and approved for publication.
LLNL nuclear weapons physicist Gregg Spriggs leads a team of film experts, code developers and interns on a mission to hunt, scan and reanalyze what they estimate are 10,000 movies from 210 atmospheric tests conducted by the US between 1945 and 1962.
Due to the fact that many of the films suffer from physical deterioration, their goal is to preserve this record before it is lost forever and to provide more accurate scientific data to colleagues who are responsible for certifying reservations each year.
“We’ve received a lot of demand for these videos, and the public has a right to see this footage,” Spriggs said. “Not only are we preserving history, but we’re getting much more consistent answers with our calculations.
“It’s been 25 years since the last nuclear test, and computer simulations have become our virtual test ground. But those simulations are only as good as the data they’re based on. Accurate data is what enables us to ensure the stockpile remains safe, secure and effective without having to return to testing.
Nuclear detonations are extremely extreme events.
To record the action, each test was captured by more than 50 cameras, providing different angles and giving backup in case one of the cameras did not work correctly.
Some cameras were designed to capture every detail of huge fireballs in an impressive slow motion.
Others captured one or two frames per minute to record how mushroom clouds evolved over long periods of time.
The common thread between these films is that they contain a large amount of quality scientific data, data that can never be reproduced, or better said, should not be reproduced.
Operation Dominic – Harlem
Nuclear detonations show two specific pulses of light.
This double pulse phenomenon is evident in the video of the “Harlem event,” a test of 1.2 megatons that took place at 4,000 meters above the Christmas Island area in the Pacific on June 12, 1962.
The first pulse reaches its maximum point almost immediately when the shock wave forms (0:09 in the video).
The brightness then decreases as the superheated air, which is opaque when heated to more than 3,300 degrees Kelvin, protects the light inside the fireball (0:10 in the video).
Here are more videos:
For more, check out LLNL Atmospheric Tests, YouTube playlist
Image credit: web Topic.