Declassified U.S. Nuclear Test Film #62
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Uploaded on Sep 25, 2007
0800062 - Starfish Prime Test Interim Report by Commander JTF-8; Fishbowl Auroral Sequences - Silent; Dominic on Fishbowl Phenomenon -Silent; Fishbowl XR Summary - Silent - 1962 - 1:01:25 - Black&White and Color - Four Films on One Video
Starfish Prime Test Interim Report by Commander JTF-8 - 7:45 - Sound - STARFISH PRIME, was one of the high-altitude nuclear tests in the Operation Fishbowl series conducted in the Pacific Proving Ground in 1962. It was launched in the Johnston Island area to an altitude of about 400 kilometers by a Thor rocket and had a yield of 1.4 megatons.
The test evaluated the capabilities of an antiballistic missile to operate in a nuclear environment and the vulnerability of a U.S. reentry vehicle to survive a nearby nuclear blast. It also provided information on the ability of a U.S. radar system to detect and track reentry vehicles. Another goal was to discern the effects of a high-altitude blast on command and control systems, which were shown to be vulnerable in earlier high-altitude tests. The final goal was to obtain information on the feasibility of testing in outer space.
Fishbowl Auroral Sequences - 7:50 - Color - Silent - BLUEGILL and STARFISH were high-altitude nuclear tests, part of Operation Fishbowl, conducted in the Johnston Island area of the Pacific Proving Ground in 1962. These tests produced auroral effects, a special feature of explosions where the extreme brightness of the fireball is visible at great distances. Within a second or two after the burst, a brilliant aurora appears from the bottom of the fireball.
The formation of the aurora is attributed to the motion, along the lines of the earths magnetic field, of beta particles emitted by the radioactive fission fragments. About a minute after the detonation, the aurora could be observed in the Samoan Islands, 2000 miles from the detonation. These auroras could be seen for approximately 20 minutes. The video shows footage of the auroras from Somoa, Mauna Loa (Hawaiian Islands) and Tongtapu (Tonga Islands) at various film speeds.
Dominic on Fishbowl Phenomenon - 1:12 - Color - Silent - Operation Fishbowl was the high-altitude testing portion of a larger Operation Dominic I. This video is a compilation of footage of the five nuclear tests comprising Operation Fishbowl conducted in the Johnston Island area of the Pacific Proving Ground in 1962. A high-altitude burst is one occurring above 100,000 feet. The video does not identify the date, time or name of the tests.
When a nuclear weapon detonates at a high altitude, many of the effects are attenuated. Most of the x-ray energy is absorbed in the air, which decreases the fireball temperature. Absorption of thermal x-ray energy also decreases the energy available for a shock wave. This all results in the development of a toroidal or donut-shaped cloud instead of the usual mushroom shape of ground or near ground explosions.
This also shows the auroral effect of high-altitude explosions where the extreme brightness of the fireball is visible at great distances. Within a second or two after the burst, a brilliant aurora appears from the bottom of the fireball. The formation of the aurora is attributed to the motion, along the lines of the earths magnetic field, of beta particles emitted by the radioactive fission fragments. About a minute after the detonation, the aurora can be observed from as far away as 2000 miles. These auroras can be seen for approximately 20 minutes.
Fishbowl XR Summary - 34:38 - Black&White - Silent - The video shows the five, rocket-launched, Operation Fishbowl tests at various camera speeds and from different camera locations. Operation Fishbowl was the Department of Defenses high-altitude testing portion of Operation Dominic I, conducted in the Johnston Island area of the Pacific Proving Ground in 1962. In a high-altitude blast, many of the effects are attenuated, resulting in a toroidal or donut-shaped cloud instead of the mushroom cloud from a surface burst. These weapons-effects tests, launched by Strypi, Thor, and Nike Hercules rockets, were as follows:
STARFISH PRIME, July 9, 400-kilometer altitude, 1.4 megaton
CHECKMATE, October 20, tens of kilometers altitude, low (less than 20 kt)
BLUEGILL 3 PRIME, October 26, tens of kilometers altitude, submegaton (less than 1 Mt, but more than 200 kt)
KINGFISH, November 1, tens of kilometers altitude; submegaton (less than 1 Mt, but more than 200 kt)
TIGHTROPE, November 4, tens of kilometers altitude, low (less than 20 kt)
Two goals of these tests were to determine if radiation and blast and heat effects of high- altitude detonations were capable of neutralizing an enemy reentry vehicle and capable of determining the blackout effects on radar and communications of various yields and altitudes of bursts.
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