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How to Watch a Nuclear Explosion

From 1945 till 2008, over 2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted worldwide. The United States of America alone accounts for 1,054 of these tests, according to an official count. Many of these atmospheric tests, the ones in which the nuclear device is detonated above the ground, were watched by thousands of spectators and volunteers. Radiations and fall-out from these tests were later found to have claimed the lives of more than 11,000 Americans, according to a report by New Scientist. The guys in the following pictures had no idea of what they were getting into.

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VIP observers watching the spectacle during Operation Greenhouse at Enewetak Atoll, 1951.

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Soldiers being exposed to a nuclear explosion at the Nevada Test Site in 1951

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Believe it or not, these five volunteers were standing at ground zero when a 2KT nuclear war headed air-to-air missile, Genie, was exploded 15,000 feet above their heads, to demonstrate that the weapon was safe for use over populated areas. Whether this affected the health of the officers is unknown.

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The testing of "Small Boy" in 1962

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Cameramen at the Nevada Test Site, May 25, 1953

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Troops watching during Operation Tumbler-Snapper. Twenty-one hundred marines participated in this test on May 1, 1952

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Crew of the USS Fall River watching the atomic blast during Operation Crossroads in 1946

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Casual observers of the Baker blast during Operation Crossroads

The origin of the next two pictures is unknown, though the last one could be from Operation Tumbler-Snapper.


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Update: Watch this video (it's worth it)

Sources: 1,2,3,4,5

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