Vintage: First Atomic Bomb Tested (July 16, 1945)

Vintage: First Atomic Bomb Tested (July 16, 1945)


Trinity was the code name of the first detonation of a nuclear weapon, conducted by the United States Army on July 16, 1945, as part of the Manhattan Project. The exact origin of the code name “Trinity” for the test is unknown, but it is often attributed to Oppenheimer as a reference to the poetry of John Donne, which in turn references the Christian notion of the Trinity (three-fold nature of God).

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In this sequence of photos provided by the U.S. Army, mushroom cloud is recorded by an Army automatic motion picture camera six miles away as the first atomic bomb test was conducted at Alamogordo, N.M., July 16, 1945. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)

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In this sequence of photos provided by the U.S. Army, mushroom cloud is recorded by an Army automatic motion picture camera six miles away as the first atomic bomb test was conducted at Alamogordo, N.M., July 16, 1945. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)

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Scientists and workmen rig the world’s first atomic bomb to raise it up into a 100-foot tower at the Trinity bomb test site in the desert near Alamagordo, N.M. in July 1945. The first atomic bomb test, known as the Manhattan Project, took place on July 16. (AP Photo)

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Exposed wiring of “The Gadget,” the nuclear device that exploded as part of Trinity, the first test of an atomic bomb. At the time of this photo, the device was being prepared for its detonation, which took place on July 16, 1945. (U.S. Department of Defense)

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Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer is seen in silhouette as he oversees final assembly of the Gadget at the Trinity test site in July of 1945. (U.S. Department of Defense)

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Jumbo, a 200-ton steel canister designed to recover the plutonium used in the Trinity test in the event that the explosives used were unable to trigger a chain reaction. In the end, Jumbo wasn’t used for recovery, but was placed near ground zero to help gauge the effects of the blast. It survived intact, but its support tower did not. (U.S. Department of Defense)

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Aerial view of the aftermath of the first atomic explosion at Trinity Test Site, New Mexico, July 16, 1945. It left a half-mile wide crater, ten feet deep at the vent and the sand within the crater had been burned and boiled into a highly radioactive, jade-green, glassy crust. (AP Photo)

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The mushroom cloud of the first atomic explosion at Trinity Test Site, New Mexico, July 16, 1945. (AP Photo)

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A longer-exposure photograph of the Trinity explosion seconds after detonation on July 16, 1945. (U.S. Department of Defense)

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The expanding fireball and shockwave of the Trinity explosion, seen .053 seconds after detonation on July 16, 1945. (U.S. Department of Defense)

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A fireball begins to rise, and the world’s first atomic mushroom cloud begins to form, nine seconds after Trinity detonated on July 16, 1945. (U.S. Department of Defense)

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This photo made by a U.S. Army automatic newsreel camera, shows the test explosion of the world’s first atomic bomb at Alamagordo, N.M., on July 16, 1945. The test, known as Trinity, of the plutonium bomb capped a $2 billion effort, unprecedented in those times. (AP Photo)

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The expanding fireball and shockwave of the Trinity explosion, seen .025 seconds after detonation on July 16, 1945. (U.S. Department of Defense)


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