Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Real Mother of All Bombs, 46 Years Ago

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the things-that-go-boom dept.

The Military 526

vaporland writes "Tsar Bomba is the Western name for the RDS-220, the largest, most powerful weapon ever detonated. The bomb was tested on October 30, 1961, in an archipelago in the Arctic Sea. Developed by the Soviet Union, the bomb had a yield of about 50 megatons. Its detonation released energy equivalent to approximately 1% of the power output of the Sun for 39 nanoseconds of its detonation. The device was scaled down from its original design of 100 megatons to reduce the resulting nuclear fallout. The Tsar Bomba qualifies as the single most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity."

cancel ×

526 comments

FR1ST PS0T (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180391)

MOD PARENT DOWN!

I respectfully disagree... (4, Insightful)

TobyRush (957946) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180403)

The Tsar Bomba qualifies as the single most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity.
I don't know... my money's still on the pen.

Color, odor and flavor (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180489)

Penis mightier.

Re:Color, odor and flavor (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180625)

You wanna see when I get swinging my sword tho'

Re:I respectfully disagree... (0, Offtopic)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180527)

"Your Mommma" [wikipedia.org] qualifies as the single most powerful comedic device [thejokeyard.com] ever utilized throughout the history of humility.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180547)

Printing press?

Re:I respectfully disagree... (2, Insightful)

raphae (754310) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180597)

I don't know... my money's still on the pen.


It was heartening to see such encouraging words after watching that horrific video which made me want to cry just thinking about how profanely humans have abused this ancient, loving Earth we have inherited.

I also believe "The pen is mightier than the sword" and that, indeed, one day righteousnes, wisdom, and courage will prevail over ignorance, fear, and greed.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (5, Funny)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180633)

Yeah. Think of all those forests laid waste to accommodate your bloody writing implement.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180653)

The pen is mightier than the sword: Often propaganda will work better than overt force. Shackle a man's hands and he will try to break free, shackle his mind and he will never consider it.

This is the reason I consider false or sensationalist news more dangerous to the wellbeing of society than terrorism.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180789)

Neither is mightier, just different tools for different situations which can be used together for greater effect.

Shackle a man's hands and shoot him in the head and he won't try to break free either then use propaganda to state that the man was a child molester.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (5, Funny)

DarkShadeChaos (954173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180835)

You're selling Penis Mightier? ... you're sitting on a goldmine Trebek!

Re:I respectfully disagree... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180637)

alright - i'll take the nuke & you take the pen. we'll see who wins.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (2, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180645)

Oppenheimer et al. wouldn't have worked out how to make a nuke if they didn't have pens.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (2, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180711)

Then perhaps it's a shame they did...

Re:I respectfully disagree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180885)

It's naive to think in terms of winning and losing when the subject is atomic bombs, didn't the cold war teach you anything? Even if you had an a-bomb I seriously doubt you'd have the stones to use it, especially against a single man. But if you insist - If you had the bomb and I had the pen, then I'd buy a house next to your parents and start writing books about how much you suck.

I win.

Either that, or the bat-bomb (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180649)

Another chapter in the ridiculous history of 20th century warfare was the development of bat-mounted bombs for use against the Japanese - read all about it [intelligentdesign.com.au] .

The interesting thing is that they were actually looking to be reasonably effective - so much so that they destroyed the testing facility. Unfortunately for the Japanese and the program, the atomic bomb was perfected before frozen bats could be deployed for use in warfare.

There is no limit to the insane plans the world's armed forces will try.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (5, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180703)

I just finished reading "A Brief History of Rome" (free e-book from gutenberg.org). Throughout, the 19th-century author kept referring to "Barbarians" and "Civilization". I eventually figured out that the difference was literacy (the pen). The Romans inflicted both the pen, and Christianity on the world. The author seemed to think both were true gifts, but I noticed that the downfall of Rome started in earnest with Constantine, who converted them empire's faith, and that the dark-ages followed shortly after. Coincidence? I doubt it. Wikipedia has a great article on it. [wikipedia.org] Just my own two-cents, but a corrupt society built on slavery and the spoils of war needed the old religion and an all-powerful emperor to survive. So... which is more powerful, the pen, or religion?

Re:I respectfully disagree... (5, Interesting)

mike2R (721965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180841)

Just to point out that if you read a modern study of the fall of the Empire in the west you will find a very different set of explanations. Why the Empire fell is one of the "big questions" for historians and current answers don't bare much resemblance to those of the nineteenth century.

When I was a history undergraduate, I remember one of my lecturers saying he thought it was a question that frequently said more about the writer than anything else; eg in the immediate post-war period historians concentrated on the external military pressures of the "barbarians" (it's a Roman word). Later historians turned more to ideas of internal factors such as the increased tax burden on local elites and the Empire allowing barbarian auxiliaries to settle within the empire's borders under their own leaders.

Re:I respectfully disagree... (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180717)

You will find, if you go back through the history, that sentance was written by me on 4/22/06. I of course meant it in the literal, physical energy related sense rather than in any metaphorical sense. However, if one considers the situation for a moment, I believe that it may also be argued to be true in the metaphorical sense as well. Everyone agrees that nuclear weapons are the most heinous, disgusting, inhuman devices ever created, but it would be laughable folly to blame the scientists who created them. We are the ones who pushed the scientists to create more and more of them, and they do serve a purpose wheather they're detonated or not. We now have the capability to destroy ourselves, possibly utterly, if we so choose. The previous ~200,000 years of human history on the planet, and our collecitve 'waking up' to our place in the universe (an occurrence solely facilitated by the plodding application of science) have been in a sense, preparation for this current phase of our existance. Nuclear weaponry is an inevitability of our current level of understanding of nature and our simultaneous ignorance and stupidity regarding our own prehistoric bellicosity. Welcome to the final exam.....

Re:I respectfully disagree... (1)

gijoel (628142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180769)

... And in breaking news, the President has announce that he inconvertible proof that Iran is trying to supply Al Queda with pens.

thanks (1)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180405)

and with that lovely thought, I go to bed
to dream dreams of nuclear holocaust

Re:thanks (1)

BlackMesaLabs (893043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180435)

Keep in mind, thermonuclear bombs have practically no maximum yield. In theory, you can build them as big as you want, as long as you've got the raw materials. The only reason we stop at 50-100 megatons is because the larger weapons won't fit on a plane or missile. Now, if you wanted to build a doomsday device of some kind...

Re:thanks (4, Interesting)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180467)

Yes, but you can transport them on a large nuclear submarine and quietly lay them down by your enemies coastlines. Say 20 of these 100Mt bad boys and you got yourself a nice man made tsunami. No need to fly around or expose the launch...

Re:thanks (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180823)

Yes, but you can transport them on a large nuclear submarine and quietly lay them down by your enemies coastlines. Say 20 of these 100Mt bad boys and you got yourself a nice man made tsunami. No need to fly around or expose the launch...
Reminds me of a conspiracy theory I read about the recent big tsunami, actually, based on a few odd blips that appeared on the seismograph just before the big shake... probably was the librarian tapping her pen on the desk nearby... but you know what they say about pens.

Re:thanks (1)

cybersavior (716002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180831)

Sorry, but I don't buy that. Lets assume that the 20 submarines carrying these actually get past our detection grid and line themselves along the Atlantic seaboard. First off, it would have to be a suicide mission for all those on the subs. Figuring a 20 person skeleton crew each, thats 400 people having to get out of the range of 20, 100mt bombs spread over a few hundred miles--not gonna happen. Secondly, the underwater fallout would completely destroy all sea life in the Atlantic, ergo no fishing in the North and the destruction of global seafood market. That scenario belongs in Kubrick film, not in reality. No offense to the parent.

but this is war.. (2, Insightful)

bronney (638318) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180905)

But war doesn't have to make sense and it doesn't have to be green. Bombs can also be remotely detonated. World War IV will be fought with sticks and stone buddy.

Re:thanks (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180675)

Actually we don't even use bombs that size because it's just expensive overkill, doing more damage to the atmosphere and planet than to the target you were aiming at. It's more effective to use a missile with a crapload of small warheads that can be targetted individually so you know you hit what you were aiming for and aren't restricted to placing a circle of damage in one point that has to contain all targets. Also as crappy as modern anti-ICBM weapons are, they're still more likely to take down a single, huge warhead than a swarm of tiny ones, probably with decoys scattered in.

YEEEES! (-1, Flamebait)

Kyrubas (991784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180411)

The solution to our problems globally and in Iraq... I'll take 3 to go please!

Re:YEEEES! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180429)

To drop on the Whitehouse, the Pentagon, and your house, I assume?

Pedantry: ENGAGED (0)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180415)

"The Tsar Bomba qualifies as the single most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity." Except for, say, the aforementioned sun, which human beings have been regularly "utilizing" ever since we first decided it might be a good idea for our bodies to process some Vitamin D.

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (5, Informative)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180433)

"The Tsar Bomba qualifies as the single most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity." Except for, say, the aforementioned sun,
The sun is not a device. You know, if we're going to be pedantic.

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (2, Insightful)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180479)

Tough one. The sun is certainly a nuclear reactor. Is the defining property of a device that it was created by someone? I guess this is an intelligent design issue. ;)

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (1)

PDXNerd (654900) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180731)

Is the defining property of a device that it was created by someone?
M-W.com says a device is: something devised or contrived: as a (1): plan, procedure, technique

Here are two assumptions based on what I understand this thread to be about.

1 - A device, in this case a large bomb, is a human contrivance, and it was the most powerful chemical explosive device ever created.
2 - A device, in this case the sun, is a device of intelligent design, and this bomb is the most powerful device a human has ever created - and this particular article uses this a bad analogy of the sun as an example (i.e. the sun outputs 20000 mid-sized SUVs worth of power every 1/400th pico second.)

Why not compare this bomb to 5000 earthquakes? Or 10^-600 seconds of the energy a black hole swallows? And really, the origin of the comparative 'device' is irrelevant. A comparison of energy output is a sensationalist way of looking at things, as I'm sure the amount of energy created by the combined nuclear reactors on this planet, for any given amount of time, equal the energy released by this bomb. It all depends on what comparison you're making and the reaction you'd like.

Ooh, here's one, this bomb was equal 1/100 to the amount of energy squawked by baby animals being slaughtered cruelly for their meat in the last century. Baby animals I tell you!!! And don't even get me started on the volcanoes...

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180747)

I know what device means in English but I have to admit I don't have a clue what it means in Modern American Spin. I suppose if you assert it enough it a word can mean anything but you will "loose" touch with a lot of people trying to understand what you are trying to communicate :)

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (5, Funny)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180509)

Sure it is. "A device whereby hydrogen is converted through fusion reactions to helium for the purpose of releasing energy." Didn't you read IBM's patent application?

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180681)

no you stupid nob head, a device must be DEVISED by someone. hence the sun is not a device. better pay more attention next time

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (1)

McFadden (809368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180767)

I guess this would be the wrong time to bring up intelligent design then...

...come to think of it. Is there ever a right time?

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180753)

... as far a we know.

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180911)

frogbert@frogbert-laptop:~$ ls /dev/sun
ls: /dev/sun: No such file or directory
Yep he is right.

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180441)

"The Tsar Bomba qualifies as the single most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity." Except for, say, the aforementioned sun, which human beings have been regularly "utilizing" ever since we first decided it might be a good idea for our bodies to process some Vitamin D.
 
Well that, and I like to be above absolute zero...

Re:Pedantry: ENGAGED (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180471)

Go build me 1% of a sun and put it on an Arctic island, then get back to me. :P

Insightful? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180475)

First off, the Sun isn't a device. Second, we 'use' it for almost everything. The food we eat is grown directly or indirectly using the Sun's energy. The weather system of the Earth is driven mostly by the Sun. One could probably spend hours making lists of things we directly or indirectly 'utilize' the Sun for.

If you're going to engage in pedantry at least get it right. I know it was probably an attempt at humor. Better luck next time :)

Mother Of All Bombs? iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180437)

Yes, the RDS-220 was impressive, but it ain't got nothing on the Jobs' iPhone marketplace bomb...

how exactly is this newsworthy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180445)

This video has been floating around the 'net for years. So...what...slow day or something??

Nah. (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180463)

Vista's still a bigger bomb.

Re:Nah. (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180521)

LOL! Mod parent up!

Re:Nah. (4, Funny)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180667)

Could be, but it's never been used!

Re:Nah. (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180795)

Could be, but it's never been used!

The Ultimate (Home Edition) deterrent - you'd be MAD to use it.

Re:Nah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180669)

But it does more a big wooooooow than a big boom.

video here (4, Informative)

gambolt (1146363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180469)

Streaming flash video of detonation:

http://sonicbomb.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=90 [sonicbomb.com]

Re:video here (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180719)

Don't look at the flash. Close your eyes and look away.

Re:video here (4, Informative)

Card (30431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180875)

Be kind to the server; YouTube has video footage as well.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=pgY9gYoCsgs [youtube.com]

If you haven't ever seen it (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180495)

I would strongly recommend watching Trinity and Beyond http://imdb.com/title/tt0114728/ [imdb.com]
It available on DVD..
You'll get to see some wicked badass bombs.

Re:If you haven't ever seen it (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180663)

Trinity and Beyond along with the Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes are a very good primer on the Anglo-American development along with the science and math done in Europe and the Americas from 1900-1945.

If you are interested in the spying and hydrogen bomb development along with the Soviet bomb, Rhodes Black Sun covers that.

test? (3, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180497)

they are always labeled a "test". what exactly were they testing?

that they can make a bloody big bang?

what the after effect were?

..or they they could go one step further in a foolish session of bloody pointless political brinkmanship?

I always thought with nuclear weapons, that really after a certain size there were precious little point is making it more powerful.

Re:test? (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180551)

They don't test nuclear weapons, those were perfected in the 60s. What they do test are weapons against mutated superants and megaspiders. And since you need a nuclear explosion to get those in the first place...

Re:test? (4, Informative)

rwven (663186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180571)

They're testing the effects of shockwaves, which types of light and how much of them are emitted in the blast, what exactly goes on (at the visible and molecular level) in the milliseconds after detonation, and PLENTY of other things. They were also testing new bomb designs and making sure they worked.

Regardless of what conspiracy theorist ideas you may have, they didn't spend billions developing these bombs, and then cause lots of (localized) damage testing them just for the pretty fireworks show. The tests DID have a point.

Not that I'm saying I LIKE the idea that the things are hanging around anymore. The idea that one bomb could kill millions and the idiotic world leaders wave them around like a revolver in the hands of a drunk is just a little on the "what the hades, are you totally insane??" side of things. It's a sad state of affairs we live in when people talk about "nukes for nukes" instead of the lives of the people that would be vaporized without a chance. If you've gotta use weapons, make them conventional or there won't be much of a world left to argue over...yaknow?

Re:test? (2, Insightful)

Lavene (1025400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180601)

they are always labeled a "test". what exactly were they testing?

that they can make a bloody big bang?
The word 'test' in this context really means: "Look what we can do!" Nuclear deterrent in practice. The whole idea behind nuclear weapons is to discourage your enemy from attacking so you want them to see exactly what you can do to them. It's a scary tactic but it seem to have worked... so far...

Re:test? (4, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180619)

I always thought with nuclear weapons, that really after a certain size there were precious little point is making it more powerful.


You got that right. This is why modern weapons don't even go above one megaton. Instead you load multiple warheads that are "only" a few hundred kilotons into a single missile. Of course, this is pretty much overkill as well, because quite frankly, a "small" number of warheads will be quite sufficient as a deterrent. The chance that somebody will attack you if they know they will get 50 nukes flying right back at them is not very much greater than if they are going to get 400 nukes back in their face. Now, to put this into perspective, the US has more than 5000 warheads in service, and more than 9000 stockpiled. Russia has close to 6000 in service, and 16000 stockpiled. The UK has 750 in service, France has 350, and China some 130. India has about 80, Pakistan about 10, and Israel is suspected to have between 100-300.

Thus in total there are some 10.000 warheads in service in the world, which works out to about 100 nukes per country. As anybody with half a brain can see, this is absolutely silly. The larger nuclear powers could cut their arsenals by a factor of 10, and they would still have several hundred nukes in service as a deterrent.

Re:test? (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180853)

it's not just a numbers game. sure america has 5000 in service, but in a situation where the enemy gets the first strike they might wipe out most of those. after all it'd make sense to attack their nuclear sites first to try prevent retaliation.

we need to maintain enough servicable nukes to make sure they can't all be taken out, thus assuring any enemy that attempts a first strike will face obliteration.

on the whole the current nuclear policies amongest the OLD nuclear powers is very moderate. it's the new ones like pakistan, china and india that scare the shit out of me.

seriously, tell me why the fuck pakistan or india need nukes? there's no serious threat of invasion to either of them, they have no powerful international enemies. sure they fight amongest each other in a few disputed area's but it's nothing conventional weapons can't handle.

Re:test? (5, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180707)

They are testing new materials and designs of the electronics and radioactive materials used. Some tests do fail or exceed expectations. Something like the George" shot, was physics experiment relating to the hydrogen bomb.

Buster-Jangle-Able was a fizzile with a one kilogram yield, but with alot of radiation.

The American test, Castle Bravo, yielded almost double the expected yield.

Castle Bravo didn't use cryogenic boosters for its fusion phase, so it lead to the developable and miniaturization of the hydrogen bomb (Fission-Fusion and Fission-Fusion-Fusion)

Then you tested to make sure entire systems world, like Grable of the Upshot-Knothole test was a nuclear weapon fired from a 280mm artillery piece and became the proof shot for the entire like of American nuclear artillery rounds.

Then also from tests at different altitudes they've learned to optimize the device's explosion altitude so smaller devices can be deployed.

1961? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180515)

Nothing says "happy anniversary slashdot" like 46 year old news. Our other top story, an Anonymous Coward links to wikipedia's October 30th page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_30 [wikipedia.org] .

Cool toy, but useless as a weapon (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180525)

It was a show. One could say one of the most spectacular special effects ever made.

That baby weighed about 30 tons. The Tupulev that carried it to its destination had its bomb bays open and some fuel tanks removed to fit that thing somehow into its belly. Though it could be carried anywhere within Russia, an intercontinental strike with it was impossible.

No, ICBMs couldn't carry it either. By far not. The R9 [wikipedia.org] , which just came into production in 61, could carry less than 2 tons.

The idea behind the Tsar (besides proving who has the biggest) was to compensate for inaccurate targeting. The goal was a bomb that could level a town even if dropped miles away (because the bomber was about to be shot down, or because the pilot had better things to do, like avoiding being shot down, than aiming accurately). It was quickly abandoned when ICBM targeting became accurate enough to ensure you could level whatever target you want to strike. And MIRVs offer much more destruction per ton carried.

In its core, it was a propaganda stunt. Another chapter in the dick-comparing story between Russia and the USA.

Re:Cool toy, but useless as a weapon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180577)

was to compensate for inaccurate targeting.

So you're saying that "almost" only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

Re:Cool toy, but useless as a weapon (1)

slap20 (168152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180583)

Cool Toy???

In Soviet Russia, even the toys have Nuclear Fallout!!

-Eric-

Re:Cool toy, but useless as a weapon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180617)

Still went to show that Sakharov was a better mathematician and knew more about reaction physics than the US at the time. We didn't think that this kind of enhanced reaction was viable.

And I guess we'll need this if we ever have to dissuade an asteroid from landing on us...

Re:Cool toy, but useless as a weapon (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180729)

"Though it could be carried anywhere within Russia, an intercontinental strike with it was impossible"

You're right, though I suspect it could have made a real mess of either London or Paris, both also nuclear powers and 'enemies' of the Sovs. at the time...

Geewhiz numbers (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180529)

1% of the power output of the Sun for 39 nanoseconds
While that is an impressive number why not just say "The power output of the Sun for .39 nanoseconds" or is 39 nanoseconds the duration of the nuclear reaction?

Re:Geewhiz numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180563)

...because it produced 1% of the power output of the sun for .39 nanoseconds too? It achieved a peak output of 1% of the sun, a peak which lasted for 39 nanoseconds. The only link to the length of the explosion is that 39 nanoseconds has to be shorter.

Re:Geewhiz numbers (1)

pesho (843750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180605)

Nah, 0.39 nanoseconds sounds kinda small. 390 picoseconds will do a better job.

Re:Geewhiz numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180611)

I think what they were trying to say that for 39 nanoseconds, it was producing 1% of the power of the sun?

Or I'm totally incorrect.

Re:Geewhiz numbers (5, Informative)

csirac (574795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180679)

Because the statement that it would be equivalent to "The power output of the Sun for .39 nanoseconds" is misleading.

Don't get distracted by the 39ns figure. Power is an instantaneous quantity - it is a rate at which energy is transmitted. They are saying that the bomb sustained a level of power (rate of energy) output and held it there for a period of time - 39 ns - that approached 1% of the sun.

I repeat: 39ns is just the period of time that the power level peaked for. They calculated that the amplitude of the power peak itself, was equivalent to 1% the power output of the sun.

We don't care about how long the peak lasted for, the 39ns, unless you start integrating power over time as you just did, in which case you're comparing a quantity of energy, rather than a rate of energy output. Yes, I suppose you could say that 39ns @ 1% sun power is equivalent to an amount of energy produced by the sun in 0.39ns, but that's not the interesting number here, because we could similarly integrate just about any huge power source over a long enough interval of time (hours, days, years, whatever) to come up with "the same amount of energy output by the sun over 39 ns".

So the interesting number is in this case, yes, that the actual instantaneous absolute power output of the bomb approached 1% of that of the sun, albeit for only 39 ns.

Quite remarkable...

Thats nonsense (-1, Troll)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180561)

Brittney Spears is the mother of all bombs.

Re:Thats nonsense (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180671)

Does that make K-Fed the father of all bombs? If that is the case, are we really safer if he has custody?

Is this... (1, Insightful)

theReal-Hp_Sauce (1030010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180569)

Something that we, as a human race are supposed to be proud of? Why do we care? Can't we evolve past this need to make the biggest "exploding" thing? I shake my head in horror.

-hps

Re:Is this... (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180651)

We could fire them off in space and make the biggest craziest fuck-off sized fireworks ever.

And if any pesky little green men have any funny ideas, well they'd sure be thinking twice

"Man. Those hairless monkeys on planet Terra sure are fucking psycho. Lets... uh.. invade Alpha Centuri instead. The man-crabs there have just built ANOTHER hippy commune"

Shame it'd nuke all the satelites with all that stray EMP radiation.

The biggest bomb detonated (1)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180575)

Not the biggest built. Rumor has it that both the USSR and the USA built 1GT weapons in the mid 1960's. It really doesn't take that much to expand a conventional Hydrogen warhead to a tertiary. Both were built, "Just in case." I don't think we'll ever know just how close we came to vaporizing each other.

Re:The biggest bomb detonated (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180685)

personally i don't think it's as close as some would like to dramatise. it's easy to talk bullshit about launching a nuke and vaporising an entire country. it's a whole lot more serious when it's for real. I doubt anyone on either side out have been willing to attack before the other. even then the nukes would have been a last resort.

Re:The biggest bomb detonated (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180891)

I read a book about a Russian submarine that sunk while within range of the US coastline (in range of which city I can't recall) during the Cold War. Big cover up regarding it and the operation the US launched to retrieve it, but the book's conjecture based on the available evidence (odd circumstances surrounding the submarine's departure, damage to its conning tower, evidence that most of the crew had been locked in the rear compartments at the type of the accident) was that a special squad was assigned to the submarine, overpowered the crew when they were in range, and attempted to launch the missiles.

Apparently the safeguards surrounding the launch of these types of weapons were fairly tight (as one would hope), and the team trying to launch the weapons didn't do everything properly. The result was a detonation in the missile tube which sunk the boat.

If that conjecture is true, then we came very close to a nuclear war.

Re:The biggest bomb detonated (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180721)

I don't think we'll ever know just how close we came to vaporizing each other.
Is it possible to get closer than we did with this [brightstarsound.com] ?

At least they chose a right site (3, Interesting)

$criptah (467422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180579)

Given the history of Soviet nuclear testing (or perfection), I am happy that they managed to find a remote spot and not blow up their own like they did in Kazakhstan [kazakhembus.com] . Also, I am thankful that this "my penis is bigger than yours" race is over. Things could have been a lot worse.

Somethign doesn't add up (1, Insightful)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180593)

OK, so let me get this straight: on the one hand we have the sun, a fusion reactor with a mass of about 2 * 10^30 kg (about a million times the mass of the whole earth). On the other hand, we have a fusion device with a mass of merely 27 tonnes, i.e. 3 * 10^4 kg, or 26 ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE lighter.

I have a hard time believing that the energy output of the latter was anywhere close to 1% of the former, except maybe by some really bogus metric (only counting certain wavelengths of radiation, for example).

Re:Somethign doesn't add up (5, Insightful)

Neo Quietus (1102313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180655)

The key difference is the incredibly short time frame the bomb produces 1% of the energy of the Sun. This is helped by the Sun releasing energy in essentially the slowest possible way. (The sun is self limited, in that when it gets too hot from too much fusion occurring it expands slightly, lowering the rate of fusion until it cools down.) I don't find it odd at all that for a short period of time the largest fusion bomb ever tested produced 1% of the sun's energy. I can produce accelerations in the hundreds of G's simply by smashing my fist into a wall and likewise say that "for less than a millisecond I produced forces hundreds of times stronger than the pull of Earth's gravity" and be technically correct.

Re:Somethign doesn't add up (1, Insightful)

PineGreen (446635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180677)

Dude, the sun runs its nuclear reactions by quantum tunelling. It is really inefficient. What makes it bright is its size!

Re:Somethign doesn't add up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180725)

Look up at the sky during the day. Notice the sun not exploding? You see, the sun is undergoing continuous reactions mediated by gravity and other forces of physics. On the other hand, the main fusion reaction of the Tsar Bomba occurred essentially instantly (39 nanoseconds), and was caused by a different fusion reaction, which was caused by a fission reaction, which was caused by high explosives. That is why it was 2 orders of magnitude away from the sun in Power (energy / time), while it was 26 orders of magnitude less in mass, because the sun is not exploding. If the sun were to explode [wikipedia.org] , there would be substantially greater power than the sun's typical operation.

Re:Somethign doesn't add up (1)

RayAlmostAnonymous (599340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180783)

The power output of the bomb was about 1% of that of the sun, not the energy output. As the Slashdot article says this was only for 39 nanoseconds. The energy involved was much less than 1% of that of the sun, it was just emitted in a very short time.

Re:Somethign doesn't add up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180811)

By far the greatest portion of the Sun's mass is not involved in fusion reactions at any given time, it is merely dead weight providing gravitational containment and heat extraction. This should be obvious, as the Sun has a lifetime of many billions of years. The lifetime of the Tsar Bomba, however, was a mere 39 nanoseconds. In that timeframe it is possible to achieve a significant fraction of the Sun's power output.

Re:Somethign doesn't add up (4, Interesting)

frying_fish (804277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180865)

Given the fact the explosion created power for such a short amount of time it is not inconceivable that its power output was approaching 1% of the sun. It would not be able to sustain that power, and given it was a fission reaction which for each reaction releases ~ 200MeV of energy, compared to ~ 13MeV for a fusion reaction, you can create a lot more energy (usually in the form of heat) from a short term fission than you can fusion.

Also as many others are stating, you're probably confusing power with energy, the energy output won't be 1% of the sun, but the power output for that short time could well approach it.

Re:Somethign doesn't add up (2, Interesting)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180881)

From qalculate:

sigma*(5778K)^4*4*pi*(1.392E9m)^2*29ns*1% to J
= 446.3 PJ

ans/c^2
= 4.966 kg

Conclusion: maybe, maybe not.
You "just" need to convert 4.966kg in pure energy in 29ns!

My wife respectfully disagrees (1, Funny)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180599)

"The Tsar Bomba qualifies as the single most powerful device ever utilized throughout the history of humanity."

I believe my wife would argue that the cheap freezer chili burritos occasionally eaten by her husband would easily defeat any such device.

And I'm pretty sure the cats agree, too... how my wife puts up with me, I shall never understand.

Somebody (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180683)

set up us the Tsara Bomba!

If 1/100 of the Sun suddenly appeared on Earth... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180723)

My sense of scale must be off; I would've thought 1% of the Sun's power could instantly reduce the Earth to a barren rock. Surely the Sun is well over 100 times larger than the Earth?

Obligatory... (0)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180737)

In Soviet Russia, bombs d....

BOOoOoooOoooOOOooom!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously though, 1% of the energy of the sun at any given moment is a difficult number to believe... I didn't RTFA (not that it would probably matter anyhow), but is this number REALLY an accurate estimation?

Re:Obligatory... (-1, Flamebait)

flajann (658201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180895)

Perhaps they meant 1% of the power, not "energy", of the Sun for that fraction of a second. Most people probably couldn't tell you the difference between "energy" and "power". Humans are so ignorant, for the most part.

Remember.. (2, Funny)

DriftingDutchman (703460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180757)

Don't try this at home, kids..

This is kinda old... (1)

Paktu (1103861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180785)

Re:This is kinda old... (3, Funny)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180833)

As is my age, however I celebrate birthdays once annually. Have a look at the date the thing was detonated.

Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear big-effing-stupid-violent-explody-thingy. Happy birthday to you!

And I suspect Digg and /. might actually have repeat articles in another year.

I for one welcome ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21180821)

our new Russian overlords ...

Wholesale slaughter of millions of people (4, Insightful)

flajann (658201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180879)

You gotta love nuclear bombs. It'll vaporise you no matter who you are. An old grandma, a kid playing in her yard, a dad leaving for work, a mom washing the dishes. A student graduating from college. A bird in a tree. A doctor saving a life. All gone in quite literally a flash.

Really and honestly, what purpose can a 50-megatonne thermonuclear bomb really serve, except to say, "My power to vaporise millions of innocent people is greater than your power..."? While perhaps impressive from a scientific point of view, there is no practical use for nukes other than to annihilate civilization as we know it.

Yes, leave it to the governments of the world to protect us and keep us "safe". "Safe" as in safely glowing in your grave.

Yield was reduced from 100 to 50Mton (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21180917)

This is an interesting point. It is reasonable to assume this bomb was a Teller-Ulam design http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teller-Ulam_design [wikipedia.org] If the uranium tamper is replaced with lead, the overall efficiency is cut in half. The fallout, however, is cut by a lot more, and is relatively low.
That Soviet union, knowing their desire for showing off their power, choose to do this, is pretty good.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...