A group of men gathered to watch an atomic bomb flash in Los Angeles on May 5, 1955. Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

The ‘A-bomb sunrises’ of 1950s California

In the 1950s, Angelenos would sometimes see two “sunrises” — one from the sun and another from atomic bomb tests in the Nevada desert. Between 1951 and 1962, 100 detonations were conducted above ground at the site northwest of Las Vegas, some so brilliant that they could be seen from points across the California coast.

People would rise early to see the predawn blasts, some standing on their lawns in bathrobes. Newspaper accounts described the glow as akin to “a monster photo flashbulb going off,” casting shadows and making wristwatches readable for a full minute.

Here are 11 eerie photos of “A-bomb sunrises” recovered from the archives. 👉 Wired

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