The King of Bombs
March 25, 2006 4:40 PM   Subscribe

"Ivan", aka "Tsar Bomba" was detonated on October 30, 1961. It made "Ivy Mike" look like a firecracker.
posted by sluglicker (22 comments total)
More nuclear mayhem.
posted by sluglicker at 4:42 PM on March 25, 2006

The dangers of al Qaeda pale by comparison to even one Russion bomb. One hundred and ten mile fireball!
posted by caddis at 4:56 PM on March 25, 2006

...which was built in only fifteen weeks by engineers in the USSR, using off-the-shelf nuclear weapon components.

i'm not sure why, but i found this funny.
posted by quin at 4:59 PM on March 25, 2006

Good Wikipedia article is here.

For 36 nanoseconds, the bomb produced around 1% of the Sun's power output during the same time period.
posted by killdevil at 5:14 PM on March 25, 2006

Oh, my God. That's insane. Never heard of this before. Thanks!
posted by brundlefly at 5:28 PM on March 25, 2006

Great post! Thanks, sluglicker. That footage of "Ivy Mike" was pretty amazing.
posted by at 5:29 PM on March 25, 2006

devious little monkeys, aren't we.
posted by 6am at 5:42 PM on March 25, 2006

i approve of the tsar bomba
posted by tsarfan at 5:59 PM on March 25, 2006

Yo mama so fat they call her Tsar Momma
posted by elpapacito at 6:08 PM on March 25, 2006

posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:10 PM on March 25, 2006

Funny, I was just looking through all this nuclear test footage on Google Video and YouTube this week, reviving old morbid interests. I was so enthralled that I went and ordered the Trinity and Beyond DVD, which has the double advantage of having recently declassified nuclear test films and William Shatner for narration.

More videos of atmospheric tests here.
posted by brownpau at 6:16 PM on March 25, 2006

Here's a bunch more information on the Ivy Mike shot. It was approximately 10 MT (as compared to 50MT for Ivan), and left a crater 2 miles in diameter and 160 feet deep. The largest ever US test was 15MT (Castle Bravo), which interestingly was twice the expected yield. This was also the blast that rained fallout on the Fukuryu Maru, a Japanese fishing vessel.

The definitive book on the construction of the hydrogen bomb is Richard Rhodes' Dark Sun, the sequal to his earlier work, The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Unfortunately, Dark Sun is not quite as good as The Making of The Atomic Bomb, because more of the relevant literature is classified, I think.
posted by pombe at 6:25 PM on March 25, 2006

I love that music in the Ivy Mike vid.
posted by Jawn at 6:29 PM on March 25, 2006

I took a trip out to New Mexico a few years back to check out the Trinity site, I knew it was only open twice a year, but I figured that the highway I was traveling on would have some kind of 'historical marker' north of the place. I had it marked on my GPS to make sure I wouldn't miss it, yet when I got there, nothing. I pulled off the side of the road and looked south to where it happened and thought about it. They said that when it went off, 14 miles all around you would have felt a warm wind strong enough to blow you back and it would feel as if someone had opened an oven door suddenly. And that was just the first one.
posted by mk1gti at 7:27 PM on March 25, 2006

posted by russilwvong at 8:20 PM on March 25, 2006

Jawn - the music is from the "Trinity and Beyond" video; I don't remember it being in the original docu reel.
posted by brownpau at 8:56 PM on March 25, 2006

Thanks brownpau, I may have to order that now.
posted by Jawn at 9:44 PM on March 25, 2006

Tsar Bomba was designed to be capable of 100MT. When I read that and did the math, it wouldn't take that many of them going off at once for the earth to pump out more energy than the sun. It's enough to make you go all quiet for a moment.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:59 PM on March 25, 2006

Yeah, but there's a reasonably effective deterrent, if you don't mind using doomsday as a deterrent. Spread cobalt-containing material over your potential targets and dare anyone to nuke them. (I don't know the amount needed, but I recall from the 1950s that one or a few bombs wrapped with cobalt would produce enough long-lasting radioactive cobalt-60 fallout -- with a half life of upwards of five years -- to make any shelter program worthless, thus ruling out any attempt at a complete first strike to wipe out the enemy.

Of course, no one but a religious fanatic with complete faith in their righteousness and trust in an afterlife would ....

oh, wait ...
posted by hank at 10:01 PM on March 25, 2006

That reminds me, I really need to watch Dr. Strangelove again.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:52 PM on March 25, 2006

lots of pics

[via brownpau]
posted by pruner at 12:16 AM on March 26, 2006

For 36 nanoseconds, the bomb produced around 1% of the Sun's power output during the same time period.

The sun?! No. Sorry. I call shenanigans. The sun, according to another Wikipedia article, is large enough to contain over a million Earths. That a bomb on the Earth could be as powerful as to equal even a hundredth of the sun's entire power output is unlikely, even for 36 nanoseconds.

If the original article said that it was equal to 1% of the total energy produced by the sun that reached the Earth's surface during 36 nanoseconds, then I might believe it. But the article did not say that.
posted by JHarris at 8:24 PM on March 26, 2006

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