Jan 272017

The SDASM Flickr account has uploaded some interesting photos of a nuclear detonation. What makes it interesting: the nuclear detonation was in space. Click the small pics below to go to the SDASM Flickr page for better rez versions.



Vaguely relevant:

Doomsday Clock ticks 30 seconds closer to midnight, thanks to Trump

While the world is certainly a goofier place than it has been in a while, the idea that we’re closer to DOOOOOOM now than during the Cuban Missile Crisis strikes me as ridiculous.


 Posted by at 1:05 am
  • Siergen

    Oddly, I do not recall the “Doomsday Clock” moving closer to midnight when Obama ensured that the Iranian nuclear program would not be interfered with…

    • Polaris1

      If you want to try and read for once, the treaty curtailed the weapons program.

      • Scottlowther

        Yeah, and Prohibition curtailed booze.

      • Herp McDerp

        We had an agreement that “curtailed” North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, too. That was diplomatic genius!

        • publiusr

          We got rid of the IRBMs..for awhile, Until we saw the Agni and the like out east.

      • sferrin

        Yo, I have a bridge for sale. . .

  • sferrin

    But Trump is literally Hitler man.

  • MzUnGu

    No a fan of Trump. but one minute he is painted as a friend of Russia, the next minute they’ll say he’ll start a war with Russia….whatever. 😛

    Seriously, do people really reads “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists”?

  • Polaris1

    I’d have used Able Archer as the example

    • Scottlowther

      I don’t recall that able archer and the near disaster was publicly known at the time or that it lasted long enough to count. The doomsday clock doesn’t measure objective reality but rather it’s PR.

    • publiusr
  • Bruce

    Which Death Star?…j/k!!

    • se jones

      synopsis: Religious fanatics destroy government facility

  • CaptainNed

    Doomsday Clock. Meh. I was born in Kansas because Dad did his 3 years active after ROTC in a Titan II silo in a Kansas wheatfield. My fraternity brothers & I watched “The Day After” and felt that the last episode of M*A*S*H the previous spring was far more gut-wrenching (and a whole lot less predictable).

    The Clock is utterly predictable. It retreats under Democratic Presidents and advances under Republican Presidents. None of these moves bear any relation to the actual private, fiddly, and messy bits of real foreign policy.

    • Bob


  • se jones

    The smoke rocket trails are interesting, those rockets had some wild excursions.


    • sferrin

      It’s mostly two things: wind (which moves the smoke trail around) and foreshortening.

      • publiusr

        The trails ruin the image–oh well–the data comes first.

        • se jones

          >data comes first
          It does, that’s the whole point. The smoke trails make it an interesting image, otherwise it would just look like the many computer (and laser ablation) *simulations of supernova explosions.

          *search youtube…cool stuff

          • publiusr

            Now in the image above. we see core of the the explosion “cloud” contract a bit–yet I would think it detonated high enough to have been in a vacuum–so it shouldn’t look like a jellyfish.

            Or am I missing something here–a kind of rebounding shock front or something?.

          • se jones

            >in a vacuum–so it shouldn’t look like a jellyfish
            See Scott’s answer below re the Starfish test

            However, even in a vacuum, if you could capture an image a small fraction of a nanosecond after ignition, it would look like a ragged “jellyfish” as minute fluctuations in the expanding plasma are amplified by the expansion of the fireball (the ultimate illustration of this, are the parts- per-million fluctuations in the cosmic background microwave radiation left over from the big bada boom).

          • se jones

            >explosion “cloud” contract a bit

            I was confused by this question until I saw the animation on a cell phone, then the “contraction” you mention is more obvious.

            What you are seeing is an optical illusion that is common in meteorology and astronomy images. You are looking at a flat 2-dimensional movie image of a dynamic 3-dimensional system. As the spherical “cloud” expands, it’s also expanding “toward” you. The cloud is self-illuminated, with the still hotter core illuminating the cooler expanding plasma milliseconds after ignition. The density of the plasma cloud determines how much light is absorbed by the core (and how much is “self-glows”) and how much it appears to be illuminated by the outside observer (you). As the cloud expands, there is a spherical “shell” of the brightest illuminated plasma that appears as a 2-dimensional ring to the outside observer (you), but that ring appears to shrink as the plasma expands and cools while the hottest illuminated region moves “in” toward the core.

            Very hard to put into words without a chalkboard to illustrate. sorry.

          • publiusr

            That’s okay. Just wondering if it might have gone off a bit lower than expected. Distance is another of those things that is hard to estimate. A good rule of thumb I have is that–if I see a meteor, say–it is about 100 miles up and out.

      • se jones

        stands to reason, I concur

      • Scottlowther

        The explosion was a few hundred miles straight up, and the rockets were also launched mote or less straight up from near the same place. So it doesn’t take much diversion from a straight line to look really screwy since you’re looking straight along the flight path.

        Here’s film of the tests, from the inestimable Trinity And Beyond.


  • se jones
  • Garrai

    A nuclear weapon exploding in space should be less than spectacular because most of the energy escapes as invisible X-rays. There would be a bright flash, like a giant flash bulb, then nothing as the minimal debris cloud cools and dissipates in a few milliseconds.