Nuclear Tests and Smoke Trails
Name: Gary H.
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.
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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Update: June 2012