What Does a Nuclear Explosion Look Like From Space?


We are all familiar with the mushroom cloud visual of nukes as seen from the vantage point of Earth.  What do they look like to the folks in space who would be wondering if they had a planet to go back to?

On July 9th 1962, the U.S detonated a nuclear weapon, dubbed Starfish Prime, over 386,000 meters (240 miles) in the sky – with an explosive yield of 1.45 megatons, roughly 100 times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The ‘controlled’ explosions were one of 5 suborbital tests conducted by the U.S during the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, as part the effects of nuclear weapons in high altitudes/outer space. Once detonated, the warheads generate not only heat and light, but incredible amounts of X- and gamma rays. Effects of the blast were felt thousands of kilometres away, and still resonant today.


To find out what it looked like, check out the video at IFLScience!

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