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Name: Gary H.
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A 
Country: N/A
Date: 10/24/2004

What causes the numerous vertical smoke trails that are visible immediately following an above ground nuclear test. I have only noticed this with the desert tests done in the 1950s. My guess is that it is from the tethers of balloons, being scorched by the heat of the blast. I have never had an explanation for them. Please solve this mystery for me.

The smoke trails are rockets that are set off at different distances from "ground zero" just prior to detonation to track the progress of the shock wave that the nuclear device generates. High speed photos record the deformation of the smoke trails and provide data to analyze the path, speed, acceleration etc. of the air displacement.

Vince Calder

Dear Gary,

The smoke trails are made by rockets which are fired vertically upward from the ground shortly after the detonation to sample the radioactivity and other debris at various altitudes which was produced by the bomb.

Best, Dick Plano...

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