DECLASSIFIED – Over 750 Nuclear Weapons Test Videos. Unreal.

Operation Teapot nuclear test photo from 1955

Lighting designers and video content people, heads up.  An amazing trove of over 750 films from the late 50’s and early 60’s have just been declassified, and scientists have put these old nuclear test films, many of them nitrate films disintegrating from sheer age, up on Youtube.

Recently, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has released a HUGE amount of nuclear project test videos for the numerous operations that the US Government conducted in order to test their weapons design, weapons damage effects, radiation fallout and effect testing, as well as many other types of tests.  It’s actually kinda genius how they conducted these tests — an “operation” would consist of a number of tests around a certain thing they wanted to test.  For example, I found in my research that the 14 tests that the US conducted in Nevada around 1955 were called Operation Teapot — 14 tests over things like damage, power, design of the actual weapon, and how it was delivered.  Each of the payloads (explosions) themselves were also named within the operation — so you have an operation that has X amount of tests — and this test video below was from the explosion in Operation Teapot aptly called TESLA, the third explosion test of Operation Teapot, on the first of March, 1955 at 1pm.  Seriously, watch this — this explosion was from high up on a steel tower — and it worked by smashing the core of the weapon from both ends of a tube, called a Linear Implosion:

Unreal. Another video angle of the TESLA payload explosion, which was meant to test the weapon’s design:

Lawrence Livermore has released an entirety of these videos. The playlist is here, on the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Youtube channel — if you work with light, I highly recommend you checking these out. This is light, all light, in its purest broken down form of photons, doing all the damage that photons can make happen. Learn light for all that it is.

One more…  This is Operation Hardtack 1, the Nutmeg explosion; Operation Hardtack 1 was a group operation that included surface tests and barge tests, at the famous Bikini Atoll location.  This was a 25.1 kiloton burst from a barge above a huge underground crater made from previous test detonations.  Watch the power of this monster we were unleashing:

And of course the entire playlist, totally worth a scroll:

Link hat tips

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Youtube channel

Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Films youtube playlist (also seen above here)

Funker530 — one of my favorite military blogs, pointed this out

Wikiwand — just an excellent information trove


The National Ignition Facility (NIF), or “What Would We Do Without The Big Picture Blog?”

If you’re not reading Boston Globe”s The Big Picture blog, I have to say that you are depriving your mind of some pretty intense and without fail breathtaking imagery.  One pretty unbelievable example is this post from the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which is better known as the place on the planet with the most powerful laser.  The NIF has a system of 192 beams that are focused onto a 2mm-ish target, applying a megajoule onto that target.

Yeah.  That’s the energy of 10,000 100W lamps in one second.

I have four images of the 27 posted on the Big Picture Blog’s NIF post, which I implore you to visit.  I hope that someone reading the website will visit this post and get excited about the future of photon science, because that is what places like The Big Picture are all about – piquing interest.

I grabbed the captions for each image too – you must have the captions!

Ok, go.  No, RUN, over to The Big Picture Blog.

Laser to Probe the Universe’s Secrets


The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is about to fire a UV laser with a power of about 500 trillion watts at a tiny piece of iron.  What an amazing figure!  Would you be surprised to know that this technology also helps nuclear engineers test nuclear warheads?  Of course you wouldn’t.  The technology can also help us learn how to create commercial fusion power stations, too.  Score one for sustainability AND nuclear weapons, I guess.

An astronomer at UC Berkeley, Ramond Jeanloz, is using the laser technology to create the conditions that exist inside Jupiter and other large planets – what they assume the conditions are like, at least – which are expected to be at least a thousand times greater than those on Earth.  We really don’t know what these conditions are like because the planets are unexplored – but by the intense heat that will be generated by the laser should tell scientists how these conditions might exist.

500 trillion watts is just – it’s an almost unimaginable power figure.  I wish I could see that laser fire!

Thanks, Gizmodo and New Scientist!