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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 17, 2005 1:36:50 GMT -6
N.M. Site Marks Anniversary of Bomb Test
All of a sudden this very bright light came out and where I was, it was intense enough that the whole mountain range itself was completely whited out," he said. "I could see the ball and fire rising up. It was sort of awe-inspiring."
For more than a year, Lehr was part of the top-secret Manhattan Project in Los Alamos that developed two atomic bombs that essentially stunned Japan into surrender and ended World War II. Tens of thousands of people died when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
Lehr said he never fully understood the impact the bombs would have. Nevertheless, he said he would do it again.
"In a lot of respects I felt as if I had done something worthwhile," said Lehr, 83. "I am in no way ashamed of what I had done in any way, shape, matter or form. I did what I was told to do. I did it to the best of my ability."
At Trinity Site, visitors can walk on Ground Zero, where the bomb was detonated from a 100-foot steel tower that was vaporized by the blast.
Ground Zero, now a gentle depression in the desert, is marked by a lava obelisk with a simple inscription: "Trinity Site, Where the World's First Nuclear Device Was Exploded on July 16, 1945."
J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the A-bomb, quoted from the Bhagavad-Gita as he witnessed detonation: "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
Chicago Astronomer Joe Founder, Administrator and Chief Astronomer
Telescope/Observatory Docent Facilitator Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
Astronomy Instructor Instituto Del Progresso/IHSCA
Astronomy Program Instructor British International School of Chicago /Lincoln Park Campus
Resident Astronomer Chicago Park District Nature Oasis/Night Out in the Parks/ 606 Trail
They didn't know whether anything would happen or not when they tried to set off the bomb. They had soldiers dug underground into foxholes 1,000 feet from ground zero, facing away from the blast, with their fingers laced over their eyes. The soldiers were able to see the bones in their fingers from the intense light. The mountains 150 miles away were lit up like daylight.
If the universe is a ball the size of America, then the solar system is almost as large as the smallest cell in the human body.