60 years ago, the United States detonated a nuclear bomb in space

(ORDO NEWS) — Auroras were visible in the sky, and electronics began to fail.

On July 9, 1962, crowds of people gathered on the beaches of Honolulu, Hawaii, and watched as the US detonated a nuclear bomb in space.

The explosion, called Starfish Prime, was part of a series of high-altitude nuclear tests known as Operation Aquarium.

During the tests, five nuclear devices were activated, the largest of which was a “starfish” with a capacity of approximately 1.4 megatons (the equivalent of the release energy of 1.4 million tons of TNT detonated simultaneously).

After the bomb was detonated about 400 kilometers above Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean, auroras were visible in the sky, and electronics began to fail.

“At Kwaialein, 1,400 miles to the west, dense cloud cover extended the length of the eastern horizon to a height of 5 or 8 degrees,” said one eyewitness to the event, according to a military report.

“At 0900 RC, a bright white flash broke through the clouds, rapidly expanding into an expanding green ball of radiation, receding into the clear sky above the clouds.

Thumbs up from its surface were white thumbs resembling cirrostratus clouds that rose 40 degrees above the horizon in wide arcs, turning down towards the poles and disappearing in a matter of seconds to give way to impressive concentric cirrus rings emanating from the explosion with tremendous initial velocity, and finally stopping when the outermost ring was closed. 50 degrees overhead.”

“They did not disappear, but remained in a state of icy immobility.”

“When the greenish light turned purple and began to fade at the point of the explosion, a bright red glow began to develop on the horizon in the direction of 50 degrees north of east and simultaneously 50 degrees south of east, expanding inward and upward.

Until the entire eastern sky turned into a dim glowing red semicircle 100 degrees north to south and halfway to the zenith, destroying some of the smaller stars. This state, interspersed with huge white rainbows, persisted for at least seven minutes.

To their surprise, they found it effective at shutting down several satellites, including one launched the day after the test. The spacecraft was hit by higher levels of radiation than expected.

“Some electronic and electrical systems in the Hawaiian Islands, located 1,400 kilometers away, were affected, causing street lighting systems to fail, circuit breakers to trip, burglar alarms to go off, and a telecommunications repeater to be damaged,” the 2012 report notes.

“What is important about an EMP attack is that one or more high-altitude nuclear explosions can cause EMP effects that can potentially disrupt or damage electronic and electrical systems in most of the United States, almost simultaneously, at a time determined by the enemy. “.

The aftermath of the test lasted significantly longer than the aurora. The explosion created an artificial radiation belt, with levels exceeding the natural Van Allen belts, which lasted for several years.


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