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Trinity Test Site (July 16, 1945)
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Trinity, July 16, 1945

(This is the page for the photograph only; see "The Trinity Test" for more information about the test itself.)  The photo is courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratories; it is reproduced on the front cover of Los Alamos: Beginning of an Era, 1943-1945 (Los Alamos: Public Relations Office, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, ca. 1967-1971). The inside of the front cover describes the history of the photograph this way:

Although colored movies were taken of the Trinity test, they were of poor quality and have since deteriorated. This cover photograph, also showing the ravages of time, is the only existing color shot of the test. It was taken, surprisingly enough, by an amateur using his own camera.  Jack Aeby, now [ca. 1967-1971] of H-6, was working at Trinity with Emilio Segrè studying delayed gamma rays. Segrè secured permission for Aeby to carry his camera to the site to record the group's activities. Came the test and, as Aeby says, 'it was there so I shot it.' The picture was taken from just outside Base Camp with a Perfex 33 camera using 33 mm film. The photograph provided the basis for the Theoretical Division's earliest calculations of the Trinity weapon's yield and was shortly confiscated by the Army and first published after the announcement was made of the bombing of Japan.

Aeby was a member of the Special Engineering Detachment. A second version of the same photograph is below; it is from Rachel Fermi and Esther Samra, Picturing the Bomb: Photographs from the Secret World of the Manhattan Project (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1995), 159.  

Trinity, July 16, 1945

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