Incredible photograph. Wish we could go back and re-shoot this same stuff in 5K stereo. Looking at this reminds me of the picture of the cosmic background radiation that one physicist called the "face of God" For some reason I intuitively feel that there's some deep mystery in this picture.
For any of you in the vicinity of New Mexico, I encourage you to go visit the Atomic Museum, which is now known as the "The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History"
Plus, they sell "Communist mints" in the gift shop, which are pretty awesome. I also picked up my girlfriend a pair of fatman and littleboy earrings, which are equally awesome.
That source is even linked at the here submitted page as source.
Photographs taken years ago at this level of time resolution must be helpful today in validating computer simulations of nuclear explosions. Simulations, rather than actual tests, are how the ongoing safety of the nuclear arsenals of the major nuclear powers is currently assessed.
> The resulting extraordinary photographs revealed intricate details of the first instant of an atomic explosion, including a few surprises such as irregular “mottling” caused primarily by variations in the density of the bomb’s casing. It also showed the detail of the “rope trick effect,” where the rapid vaporization of support cables caused curious lines to emanate from the bottom of an explosion.
The camera is interesting - using an electronic not mechanical shutter. This was around 1944. (Bell Lab's transistor was around 1947.)
It reminds me of when I first learned that irregularity in the early universe is what enabled material to condense (probably not the best word) and eventually form gas clouds.
Edit: I was wondering if there was some connection between the two, but thanks to DanBC's comment, it seems like the actual cause is a lot less mysterious.
The source article has more information about the camera and the inventor http://www.damninteresting.com/rapatronic-nuclear-photograph...
Then the explosion is expanding at an instantaneous rate of:
(10 meters [radius] / 0.001 sec) = 10,000 meters per second = ~6.2 miles per second.
Obviously it won't sustain that velocity, but still. That's insane(ly awesome).
The upshot of this is that the entire sphere that you see comes into existence in a roughly simultaneous fashion, not in an expanding fashion. If you watch slow-motion videos, you will see that sphere stay at the same size and transition from dark to light, rather than start light and transitioning from small to large.
The explosion itself comes later, as that air (which is around 9000F) obeys basic gas laws, and tries to expand.
It's too late, but I have submitted that link here:
Doesn't do any good, the discussion is here already, and there's no way to merge or migrate.
Meaning that at 20m from the center of the explosion (the fireball was 20m diameter, or 10m radius) it should already be at 1/4 the intensity, already less than the surface of the sun. At 7 miles or 11200m, you're talking 1/(1120^2) or 7.97e-7 of the original intensity - effectively zero - if I've done that math right.
The energy is going in every direction, not just at you. With distance, you will receive a smaller portion of whatever energy made it 7 miles out.
The interior of the sun however is a different story (around 1.57*10E7 K per Wikipedia)
This is a phenomenon of some interest, since it intuitively seems like the 2nd law of thermodynamics should prevent this from happening: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona#Coronal_heating_problem
how i understand it is two-fold. first, heat density. the surface area of the explosion is significantly smaller than the sun, and so the energy in the explosion is condensed to a smaller area and thus creates a higher temperature. as it expands it will, therefore, "cool" (relatively speaking) and by the time it reaches 7 miles away it wont melt the piss out of the camera (it obviously survived).
second is the spread of heat from the explosion to the camera. heat transfer is not instantaneous, and so the camera was just fine at this point. again, by the time it spreads to the camera it's dissipated so much energy that the heat will be relatively cooler.
finally i imagine the camera was pretty well protected to withstand the various forces of the explosion.
EDIT: If it was 3 times hotter than the centre of the Sun...yeah, the Earth might be done for at that point.
If you're in Boston and it's still there, definitely go check it out.
(For others, the context here is that in addition to his work photographing and filming nuclear explosions, Edgerton also developed the electronic strobe along with developing lots of other interesting things, and going on Jacques Cousteau expeditions. (Also a wonderful teacher and person.)
I got it for xmas from the girlfiend a few years back, she knows exactly he sort of combination of beautiful and eerie that I like...
(Disclaimer: I'm not a physicist of any sort, but I'm pretty sure this is all right.)
...which if my math is right, comes out to 1/100,000,000,000,000,000th of the amount of time post explosion of this photo...
I don't think it would like much!
You just never know.
"This is one of those images that is equally beautiful/horrible. Kim Kardashian pics are the same way......."