What Are Those Strange Thin Smoke Columns Around Nuclear Bomb Tests?

By Jesus Diaz on at

This video shows part of a nuclear blast test. Notice those parallel smoke trails? They are present in many other nuclear test images and videos, but they are not created by the blast itself. What are they?

Back in the early days of the Cold War there were no computers capable of modeling nuclear explosions and their effect.

They are smoke rocket trails. Before each test blast, technicians fired these rockets up in the air, leaving large smoke trails that rose well above the bomb's mushroom.

When the atomic blast's shockwave arrived, they moved the trails. Scientists at observation stations could instantly see the effect of the shockwave, hitting, moving and deforming the smoke columns. They were able to measure the speed of the shockwave, as well as the shape and the pressure in relation to the space. [Atomic Trail via Animal de Ruta via Fogonazos]