Between 1945 and 1962, the United States conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear bomb tests. For each of those tests, the government used multiple cameras filming at 2,400 frames per second to document things. Over 700 of the films have been declassified so far, and they’re currently being uploaded to YouTube.
The videos are being uploaded by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of Livermore, California, which conducted the original nuke tests. Researchers and film experts are going through the roughly 10,000 films that were previously classified and stored around the country in high-security vaults.
So far 6,000 have been found, 4,000 have been scanned, and 750 have been declassified.
Since the film reels weren’t stored properly, they’re in the process of decomposing and losing their images, so a team is working to digitize and preserve the data so that the footage is preserved for the future.
64 of the nuclear bomb explosion videos can now be found through Livermore’s YouTube account, and some of the footage is awe-inspiring and terrifying:
The tests in these videos were all done after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Preserving this footage for posterity is important due to the fact that the United States no longer conducts nuclear weapons testing, but instead uses old testing data and new computer modeling for research.
You can find the entire collection of videos over on the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory YouTube channel.