Trinity (atomic explosion)

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A photograph of the Trinity explosion (from government archives). This photograph was taken from six miles away.

A test, code-named Trinity, was the first atomic explosion in world history, on July 16, 1945. It occurred in a remote location in the middle of New Mexico, on what is now the White Sands Missile Range.

Robert Oppenheimer named it Trinity after reading the sonnet by John Donne: "Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you/ As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend..." The scientists considered the name appropriate for something Godlike.

The atomic bomb that was tested was the implosion-design plutonium bomb (nicknamed "Fat Man,") equivalent to what was later dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The detonation was equivalent to the explosion of 20 kilotons of TNT. The test was conceived out of the Manhattan Project, the Allied effort to build new powerful weapons using nuclear fission.

The sand in the area around ground zero was so intensly heated by the blast that it was melted into greenish glass, later known as trinitite after the test.

The 51,500 acre site is now a National Historic Landmark, and visits can be made to the site only two days of the year: on the first Saturday in April and the first Saturday in October.[1]

See also



Trinity Pamphlet - White Sands Missile Range [1]