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February 17, 2006 8:34 PM   Subscribe

The First Few Microseconds of an Atomic Blast. 3 photos of the early stages of an above-ground atomic test. I was aware of the work of high-speed photographer Harold Edgarton but I'd never seen these until today.
posted by Devils Rancher (34 comments total)

 
Can't sleep ... talking website will eat me ...
Can't sleep ... talking website will eat me ...

(Cool photos though. They look incredibly solid, the blasts.)

Can't sleep ... talking website will eat me ...
posted by grabbingsand at 8:55 PM on February 17, 2006


It's Edgerton.
posted by spock at 8:56 PM on February 17, 2006


Rapatronic! [*]
posted by brownpau at 9:08 PM on February 17, 2006


Spock: It's Edgerton.

I suck :( (would have sworn I copy/pasted his name.) is there any way to edit a FPP?
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:09 PM on February 17, 2006


(Alms mentioned the same images a while back.)

More nuclear explosions photographed with Edgerton's high-speed "Rapatronic" cameras are shown here and here. The spikes extending downwards from the fireballs are the shot tower's support cables being vaporized.
posted by cenoxo at 9:11 PM on February 17, 2006


Those are great, cenoxo.

is there any way to edit a FPP?

Email matt@haughey.com and/or jessamyn@gmail.com. You might want to also add a tag to your post with the correct last name.
posted by mediareport at 9:16 PM on February 17, 2006


It seems I was in Tokyo after the great earthquake and around me were decomposing bodies heaped in piles, all of whom were looking right at me.

I saw an eye sitting on the palm of a girl's hand.

Suddenly it turned and leaped into the sky and then came flying back towards me, so that, looking up, I could see a great eyeball, bigger than life, hovering over my head, staring point blank at me. I was powerless to move.

I awakened short of breath and with my heart pounding.


- Dr. Michihiko Hachiya, Japanese doctor wounded in the world's first atomic bombing, and who ministered to hundreds of atomic bomb victims.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:17 PM on February 17, 2006


er, sorry.
posted by longsleeves at 9:19 PM on February 17, 2006


Cool!
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:25 PM on February 17, 2006


Visions of Hell: let's not forget what it looks like on the receiving end. More at Ground Zero 1945: Drawings by Atomic Bomb Survivors.
posted by cenoxo at 9:33 PM on February 17, 2006


Scary and amazing at the same time. And wicked cool geekery involved too! Nice!
posted by fenriq at 9:40 PM on February 17, 2006


Very cool, thanks.
posted by Dasein at 10:09 PM on February 17, 2006


What's most interesting to me is that it totally reminded me of Akira. Nothing specific, just something about the forms in the blast and the forms i remembered from the film.

Though i have no doubt that the animators of that particular flick probably saw and were inspired by some of this footage.

Still, it never fails to amaze me when something so utterly destructive can have elements or real beauty/ interest.

Also, great title for the post :)
posted by quin at 10:48 PM on February 17, 2006


Gawdimples! THIS is not an atomic blast...but an earthly manifestation of the Flying Spagetti Monster...(Behold His Noodly Appendages!)
posted by Dunvegan at 10:55 PM on February 17, 2006


I'd never seen these. The photos remind me of this recent thread, and in both cases I'm amazed how I have this idea that photography represents how things "really are," yet it's capable of depicting things in a radically different way from how we view them.

Thanks.
posted by cribcage at 10:57 PM on February 17, 2006


Blastastic!
posted by HTuttle at 11:29 PM on February 17, 2006


I feel bad for trying to see the beauty in a purpose-built genocide machine
posted by subaruwrx at 11:35 PM on February 17, 2006


awesome. you know, mefi for two days now has been absolutely stellar. here's hoping this is the beginning of a phenomenal weekend for mefi.
posted by shmegegge at 11:46 PM on February 17, 2006


subaruwrx; to call it a genocide machine is too kind. The atomic energy doesn't care who you are.
posted by odinsdream at 2:00 AM on February 18, 2006


Looks strangely organic.
posted by Tarn at 2:01 AM on February 18, 2006


How long until one of these is on an album cover?
posted by papercake at 5:25 AM on February 18, 2006


Love them, but have the strange impression that I've seen them on MeFi before.
posted by MarshallPoe at 5:49 AM on February 18, 2006


Truly, it does look like a planet of fire. A small, synthetic sun, sitting there on the desert floor. It's almost as if you can imagine it being permanent, rather than extremely transitory. If that were so, setting aside the achingly grim reality for a moment, it has a kind of compelling beauty.

"You see that glowing ball of hydrogen out there on the horizon? No...not the sun...that other one. I used to take your mother out there when we were dating."

Or, maybe something you'd see at a Burning Man festival.

The lone and level sands stretch far away...
posted by darkstar at 5:50 AM on February 18, 2006


I feel bad for trying to see the beauty in a purpose-built genocide machine

And I can't help but wondering if perhaps, I'm staring into the face of Satan himself. There's definitely more to these than "Oohh, a fireball!"
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:33 AM on February 18, 2006


fantastic. I hunger for more.
posted by Busithoth at 6:52 AM on February 18, 2006


The definitive collection of photos like these is 100 Suns, Michael Light's compendium of photos of every aboveground nuclear blast. It's worth the $30.
posted by intermod at 7:45 AM on February 18, 2006


a ten FOOT lens!?
posted by muppetboy at 7:56 AM on February 18, 2006


These are beautiful and amazing, thanks.
posted by effwerd at 10:16 AM on February 18, 2006


My god, it's full of stars.
posted by scarabic at 10:18 AM on February 18, 2006


These photos always look to me like the creation of a universe. I imagine that from the outside, our Big Bang looked similar.

I know, looney.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:56 AM on February 18, 2006


a ten FOOT lens!?

I assumed they meant a lens with a ten-foot focal length. A ten-foot-wide lens would be the largest refractor lens ever built by a wide margin.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:03 AM on February 18, 2006


scarabic, I had the same thought.
posted by bardic at 11:08 AM on February 18, 2006


A ten-foot-wide lens would be the largest refractor lens ever built by a wide margin.

And?
posted by odinsdream at 9:38 AM on February 19, 2006


does anyone know if there's a load of high quality videos of atomic blast tests online somewhere?
posted by 6am at 6:18 AM on February 20, 2006


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