Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
10 times the explosive power of all explosives used in WWII (wikipedia.org)
11 points by kyriakos on Sept 23, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 13 comments

It created a fireball 5 miles in diameter, destroyed all buildings up to 34 miles away, and could give 3rd degree burns to people 62 miles away. I can't even comprehend how one bomb could do so much damage.

its ground zero is readily findable by sight on Google Maps:


Notice the scale by zooming out ever so slightly. Also, time scale, because it happened decades ago.

This has to be the only man-made destruction that can bee seen with the naked eye from space.

"This has to be the only man-made destruction that can bee seen with the naked eye from space."

No, you can see Los Angeles from space.

Keep in mind that they dumbed it down quite a bit! It was 100 Megatons initially but they reduced it to only 50 Megatons "to reduce nuclear fallout (and also to prevent the blast from destroying the drop aircraft)".

It was more that 50 years ago. Now...

Actually there is also an atmospheric limitation. I think the Limit is somewhere in-between 50 megatons and 100.

Basically if the explosion was any bigger it would leave the atmosphere into outer space so there is no point in making it any bigger.

Here's a segment from a Discovery channel documentary on the Tsar Bomba[1]. It is pretty difficult to visualise the kind of impact this bomb would have if actually dropped on a city. It would obliterate London (and large parts of England), as well as Paris, Madrid, Athens, Berlin, Vienna and countless other cities around the world if dropped.

I also read somewhere (but can't find the link) that although the Soviet pilots had special shutters and goggles to keep the flash out, when the bomb exploded they claimed they could see their bones through their hands.

Of course, the damage from this bomb (in terms of fallout) was much less than that resulting from the Castle Bravo test[2].

[1] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGk90-zvWOo

[2] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Bravo

I read this headline with the narrator's voice from "Dr. Strangelove" (who had a similar line).

"Each B-52 can deliver a nuclear bombload of 50 megatons, equal to 16 times the total explosive force of all the bombs and shells used by all the armies in World War Two."

"10 times the combined power of all the conventional explosives used in WWII, or one quarter of the estimated yield of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa."

Looks like we still have a way to go.

Well, that's the most powerful ever detonated, not necessarily the most powerful ever designed or built. Also I assume the current best is classified. We've probably surpassed that by a margin, given that FIFTY years have passed. The time between the first nuke and Tsar Bomba was 15 years. Now we have better science, more money, computers, and a 50 year lead.

However, as the "analysis" section of the wikipedia article mentions, ever since the invention of ICBMs and other more accurate and faster methods of delivering nuclear bombs, the trend has been towards carpeting the target area with smaller and more numerous bombs. Since the energy of the explosion is inversely proportional to the square of the distance, for destroying a specific area I suspect having multiple smaller explosions would be more effective than one large explosion.

I just hope that the work that resulted in this device will produce many benefits to nonweaponary nuclear science.

Main designer became firm opponent of weaponized nuclear energy and advocate/researcher for peaceful use of nuclear power

HN or Digg?

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact