When We Tested Nuclear Bombs

Since the time of Trinity -- the first nuclear explosion in 1945 -- nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have been performed. Most of these occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. When the technology was new, tests were frequent and often spectacular, and they led to the development of newer, more deadly weapons. Since the 1990s, there have been efforts to limit the testing of nuclear weapons, including a U.S. moratorium and a U.N. comprehensive test ban treaty. As a result, testing has slowed -- though not halted -- and there are looming questions about who will take over for those experienced engineers who are now near retirement? Gathered here are images from the first 30 years of nuclear testing. See also "Can We Unlearn the Bomb?" and "Atomic Weapons on Film."

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • © Google

    Seven Square Miles

    Snapshots from Google Earth, all rectangles of the same size and scale, approximately three and a half miles wide by two miles tall—showing seven square miles of the varied surface of our planet in each view

  • Mark Wallheiser / Getty

    More Photos of the Incredible Devastation Left by Hurricane Michael

    Recent photographs from Mexico Beach, Panama City, and neighboring Florida towns, as the full extent of the damage wrought by Hurricane Michael becomes clearer.

  • U.S. National Park Service / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Sea Monsters, Hawaiian Sunrise, Cosmodrome Camels

    A seal pup in Wales, a luxury hotel in a quarry pit in Shanghai, space-suit testing on a tropical island, damage from Hurricane Michael in Florida, Swiss fighter aircraft in the Alps, and much more

  • Photographing the Microscopic: Winners of Nikon Small World 2018

    Some of the winning and honored images from the 2018 Small World Photomicrography Competition