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ERIC Number: EJ1083222
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Dec
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Seeing the Light: Visibility of the July '45 Trinity Atomic Bomb Test from the Inner Solar System
Reed, B. Cameron
Physics Teacher, v44 n9 p604-606 Dec 2006
In his "The Making of the Atomic Bomb," Richard Rhodes remarks of the July 16, 1945, Trinity atomic bomb test in New Mexico that "had astronomers been watching they could have seen it reflected from the moon, literal moonshine," an allusion to Ernest Rutherford's famous dismissal of the prospect of atomic energy. Investigating this impressive claim makes for a nice exercise in exploring astronomical magnitudes and leads to other intriguing questions: Just how bright would the explosion have appeared to an observer on the Moon, say, as compared to Venus? What about an observer on Mars or otherwise located in the solar system? What fraction of the bomb's yield was in the form of visible light?
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A