Tuesday, July 13, 2010

atomic cloud

As I was sitting at the dining room table this morning (5:30am) having my coffee and toast (raisin toast), I was looking at pictures on my lap top. I came across this picture of an atomic bomb test in the Nevada desert. The picture looks like the usual mushroom cloud from an A-bomb blast. Then I noticed something that I really hadn’t noticed before. There looks to be a small tornado coming down out of the cloud just to the left of the cloud. If you have trouble seeing it, I have circled it in red in the picture below. By the way, if you click on the pictures you will get a magnified view. And if you click on the magnified picture you will get an even larger picture. It is amazing sometimes at the detail you can see when you do this. I do it all of the time with the pictures that Seaside includes in the blogs.

Curiously there are wispy filaments of perhaps a second twister trying to form between the darker one and the stem of the mushroom cloud.

This test must have been one of the ones where they used soldiers. I have circled them in yellow. Now known as Atomic Soldiers. I have circled them in yellow. They sure look awfully close to the detonation to me. I would be concerned about the fallout getting onto the soldiers. There is a movie called Nightbreaker which is an excellent movie about the soldiers being used in the atomic bomb tests. It stars Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson. I highly recommend it. By the way, the atomic veterans of those tests have an association called the National Association of Atomic Veterans and is abbreviated to NAAV. They have a good website also, if you happen to be interested in hearing their stories. An excellent book is called Atomic Soldiers which details the experience of individual soldiers in these atomic tests. As for the tests in the South Pacific, Radio Bikini is a great documentary on the atomic testing there. All of these books and movies should be available at your library.

What are those vertical white lines (circled in blue) to the right of the mushroom cloud? They are rockets fired at the time of the blast so that the power of the shock wave can be measured by the amount of distortion of the trails of smoke left by the rockets. They can get an idea of the power of the bomb from this. Much like Enrico Fermi who dropped small pieces of paper when at the Trinity bomb test (world’s first atomic explosion) in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico. He estimated the power of that first bomb by how far the pieces of paper were blown by the shock wave and his estimates were pretty good.

But enough of the atomic history lesson. As close as I can come to a mushroom cloud is this beautifully shaped mushroom that is growing in the front yard.

I am not sure whether it is a mushroom or a toadstool. I can never figure out which is which. To be on the safe side I never eat anything unless it comes from the grocery store. To me it looks like the hamburger bun at McDonald’s.

It is amazing how quickly these appear after a good hard rain.

I was really surprised by the soil in this picture. It has finally sunk into my mind just how sandy the soil is here. No wonder we have difficulty growing things here.

And today is a day at the movies where I leave reality and lose myself in the fantasy world of the movie screen. As I watch the movie, I become enraptured by it to where I am no longer in my seat but up there in the scene fighting monsters and bad guys and saving the world and humankind once again. Then the movie ends, the lights come up and I am back in the real world of a movie theater with popcorn on the floor and empty drink cups in the holders in the arm rests. Time to leave and enter the heat of the afternoon sun in the parking lot. But as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say “I’ll be back”, I will return next Tuesday to once again save the planet. Films on the big screen of movie theaters are great because I can just lose myself in them. We are going to see the movie Predators. It is time to go so have a nice day and I promise not to give away the ending of the movie in my next blog. Lew

1 comment:

Matthew Shipton said...

This is quite old, but to clarify, the "wispy" elements to the right of the cloud are sounding rockets that are launched pre-detonation so that physicists can review high-speed photography to study the progression of the blast front.