This might look like some kind of microscopic organism, but it’s actually a high-speed photograph of a nuclear explosion. It was captured less than 1 millisecond after the detonation using a rapatronic camera. the photograph was shot from roughly 7 miles away during the Tumbler-Snapper tests in Nevada (1952). The fireball is roughly 20 meters in diameter, and 3x hotter than the surface of the sun.
These are photographs of the first few milliseconds of nuclear explosions. They lead scientists to several new discoveries as to how nuclear bombs worked. But how do you capture the first millisecond of a nuclear bomb? With several rapatronic cameras, a Kerr cell, and a little physics.
Developed by Dr. Harold Edgerton in the 1940s, the Rapatronic photographic technique allowed very early times in a nuclear explosion’s fireball growth to be recorded on film. The exposures were often as short as 10 nanoseconds, and each Rapatronic camera would take exactly one photograph. ... One of the things Edgerton was asked to photograph was the night time detonation of an atomic bomb by the military. He managed to capture the process beautifully but also the strange beauty of…
Harold Eugene "Doc" Edgerton invented the rapatronic camera, a device capable of capturing images from the fleeting instant directly following a nuclear explosion. These single-use cameras were able to snap a photo one ten-millionth of a second after detonation from about seven miles away, with an exposure time of as little as ten nanoseconds.