© The Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation, courtesy Palm Press, Inc. Not for reproduction or publication.
Atomic Bomb Explosion
Date: before 1952
Medium: Gelatin silver print
Dimensions: image: 12 1/8 x 9 1/2 in. (30.8 x 24.1 cm) sheet: 14 × 11 1/8 in. (35.6 × 28.3 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of the Harold and Esther Edgerton Foundation, 1996
Object Number: 1996-42.1
About: Starting in 1947, Edgerton's company EG&G devised instrumentation for the Atomic Energy Commission. During and after World War II, Edgerton and his colleagues were called upon by the government to develop long-distance photographic equipment that recorded high-speed phenomena. This photograph reveals the first microsecond of an atomic bomb explosion. The fireball was documented in a 1/100,000,000 of a second exposure taken with a camera lens ten feet long placed seven miles from the blast. The intense heat that was generated vaporized the steel tower and turned the desert sand to glass.
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