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L.A. City Hall backlit by nuclear weapon test

L.A. City Hall backlit by nuclear weapon test

May 7, 1952: Los Angeles City Hall is backlit by nuclear weapon test in Yucca Flat, Nev., 300 miles away.

A story in the next morning’s Los Angeles Times reported:

The first predawn atomic flash since early 1951 over the Nevada proving ground was visible clearly from Los Angeles yesterday morning.

Despite a cloudy sky, the intense brilliance carried 300 miles between here and the atomic test site to fringe downtown buildings in a brief aura of fierce light.

Photographs taken from Civic Center show the northeastern sky luminous from a man-made sunrise. The detonation was at 5:15 a.m. — 43 minutes before dawn.

The five experimental nuclear explosions early last year all occurred in morning darkness. The 12 others which followed, with the exception of yesterday’s, came in bright sunlight….

Observers at the control tower at International Airport described the sight as resembling bluish lightning. The flash observed here was instantaneous. No afterglow was discernible.

This photo was taken from a balcony at the Los Angeles Times building and published in the May 8, 1952 edition. The light ray from atop City Hall is from the Lindbergh Beacon.

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1 Comment

  1. October 3, 2013, 8:06 am

    This is an incredible photograph! I remember as a kid, being aware of the testing in the desert but had no idea that such an incident would be visible in the Los Angeles sky. Thanks for sharing this.

    By: rafachavez

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