‘Now I Am Become Death…’ – 69 Years Ago Today, The Dawn Of The Atomic Age


The test site, named the White Sands Proving Ground, was built in the Jornada del Muerto (route of the dead man) desert. The good news for today is — we haven’t blown ourselves to kingdom-come just yet.

The Trinity Test, July 16, 1945:

At 05:29:21 (plus or minus 2 seconds) local time (Mountain War Time), the device exploded with an energy equivalent to around 20 kilotons of TNT (84 TJ). It left a crater of radioactive glass in the desert 10 feet (3.0 m) deep and 1,100 feet (340 m) wide. At the time of detonation, the surrounding mountains were illuminated “brighter than daytime” for one to two seconds, and the heat was reported as “being as hot as an oven” at the base camp. The observed colors of the illumination ranged from purple to green and eventually to white. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach the observers. The shock wave was felt over 100 miles (160 km) away, and the mushroom cloud reached 7.5 miles (12.1 km) in height. After the initial euphoria of witnessing the explosion had passed, test director Kenneth Bainbridge commented to Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, Now we are all sons of bitches. Oppenheimer later stated that, while watching the test, he was reminded of a line from the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture: Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.  — wikipedia