The day the sky exploded
July 31, 2003 1:01 PM   Subscribe

The day the sky exploded. Ever wondered exactly what happened when the H-bomb hit Hiroshima? So did lots of scientists.. It's not pointless curiosity - these discoveries should help us all in the future. Of course, those in charge had other things in mind at the time. Hiroshima previously well examined here.
posted by ascullion (17 comments total)
The H-bomb did not hit Hiroshima - that was the A-bomb (atomic bomb, uranium fission weapon). The H-bomb was developed after the Soviets developed their own A-bomb, and first tested on Eniwetok Atoll (which was obliterated) in 1952.

Please learn the history...
posted by anser at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2003

Gee, and I thought it was an A-Bomb...
posted by jpburns at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2003

Not H-Bomb. Hydrogen Bombs are thermonuclear. It was an A-Bomb -- just nuclear, fission but no fusion required. Just to clarify.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2003

Very interesting to know, carbon 14 dating cant be guaranteed accurate after the frst nuclear bomb went off.

"However, radioisotope dating may not work so well in the future. Anything that dies after the 1940s, when Nuclear bombs, nuclear reactors and open-air nuclear tests started changing things, will be harder to date precisely."

Howstuffworks link here.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:23 PM on July 31, 2003

all in all, I thought that went rather well... ;)
posted by twine42 at 1:24 PM on July 31, 2003

"Every time you have an x-ray, for example, the safety data used to set your dose of radiation can be directly traced back to the events at Hiroshima."

Wow, trips to the dentist are never gonna be quite the same.

Great article, thanks ascullion.
posted by eyebeam at 1:32 PM on July 31, 2003

Last time I went to the dentist for X-rays, the tech told me to close my eyes.

WTF!? If your safety margin is so thin that a few layers of skin in my eye lids is going to keep your fancy device from boiling the eyes out of my skull, maybe you want to dial the dose back a few rads. In fact, why don't you just knock the damn teeth out. I need eyes way more than I need teeth.
posted by willnot at 1:42 PM on July 31, 2003

The H-bomb did not hit Hiroshima

Cringe... please, someone, edit and make my pain go away

I knew the alliteration was too good to be true
posted by ascullion at 1:48 PM on July 31, 2003

What happened to B through G?
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 1:53 PM on July 31, 2003

Hardly har har.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:03 PM on July 31, 2003

arguably the a bomb didn't hit hiroshima either...
posted by twine42 at 2:07 PM on July 31, 2003

Of course there are no "safe" levels of radiation exposure ... despite whatever ANY story says.

One sufficiently energetic particle hitting the right spot in your body can cause a cancer-causing mutation.

Anyway, they didn't need Hiroshima to figure out safety levels. They could have studied the thousands of US sailors and soldiers directly exposed to radiation during "bomb" testing.
posted by Twang at 2:59 PM on July 31, 2003

Of course there are no "safe" levels of radiation exposure

Only because there's no such thing as "safe". Otherwise no one would live in Denver because they got 20 mrem per year more from cosmic rays than if they lived in Los Angeles.
posted by jaek at 3:38 PM on July 31, 2003

Science is divided on very low doses of radiation (it's a long shot, but they could actually be beneficial).
posted by Tlogmer at 4:07 PM on July 31, 2003

"Ever wondered exactly what happened when the H-bomb hit Hiroshima? So did lots of scientists" - Hiroshima.....weren't there a few people living there prior to the bombing?
posted by troutfishing at 5:03 PM on July 31, 2003

I always figured that most of the city must've been made out of bamboo and rice paper since the concrete dome building directly under the blast was not really damaged that badly.
posted by HTuttle at 5:55 PM on July 31, 2003

I've known two unique H-bomb-related people. General Frank Sackton, who attended the H-bomb detonation, was aboard the second ring of ships (the first ring of ships, with test animals, you see in the aerial film clip, the second ring was a lot further out, out of camera range.) The idea was for the ships to be broadside to the blast, then turn towards it, to catch the tidal wave head on.

Trouble was, they didn't quite know how big it was going to be. The General said that when it first went off, everybody was awed, and one or two people hesitantly applauded. But then the mushroom cloud kept getting bigger and bigger, followed, he said "by a flurry of activity on the bridge", as they realized that the tidal wave was going to be a tad larger then expected.

He ended up hanging onto a cable for dear life, and half the people on deck were washed overboard.

The other guy was a US Army Sergeant who was detailed to fly out every day to the bomb crater in the ocean in a helicopter, and measure its radioactivity with a geiger counter from Eniwetok Island, which is a five-foot-thick piece of concrete on top of one of the original islands still around in the vicinity. The place is male-only, a six (nine?) month tour.

Well, one day, enroute to the radioactive hole, they took a different route, and much to their surprise saw an *enormous* shark. Sharks are pretty resistant to radiation, pretty immune to cancer, and some are territorial. In this case a territory far enough away from the blast hole to be safe for him. But the fish who were *not* territorial, would swim in the blast area, get messed up from the radiation, then meander, sick or near death, into the sharks' territory. So all day long he just sat and ate. And got REAL big. Or, as they said, "Damn near as long as the helicopter, and half as wide."

So they put out a contract on the shark. With a crate of hand grenades and a high powered rifle. For, as he said, "Helicopters can be unreliable things."
posted by kablam at 7:59 PM on July 31, 2003

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