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Harold ‘Doc’ Edgerton captured an atomic blast from far away via a Rapatronic Camera in 1952, using nothing but the blast’s own energy for light (which is always more than enough). The result lets you see the stages in an explosion that, in many circumstances, is cause for fear. However, here it is more that your curiosity is awakened as you can see what goes on inside the heart of the monster.
The pictures were taken using a Rapatronic (Rapid Action Electronic) Camera with a ten foot lens, 7 miles away from the blast atop a 75 foot tower. The shutter Edgerton used was operated via magnetic fields as opposed to mechanical operation. This allowed Harold to achieve a speed of 1/100,000,000th of a second. And you can see the results:
As you can possibly imagine, the tower that the blast took place on was incinerated along with any surrounding vegetation.
See those sparks protruding from the bottom right and left of the blast? That’s lightning racing down the tension wires of the tower.
Here you can see the Joshua trees before being incinerated by the blast. After the blast, scientists said that the surrounding sand in the desert had turned to glass.
Other work that Edgerton has done includes this little photograph here. It shows a bullet penetrating a bubble filled with helium.