Talk:Tsar Bomba

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Former good article Tsar Bomba was one of the History good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
High traffic

Tsar Bomba has been linked from multiple high-traffic websites.

15 August 2007 Link See visitor traffic
31 October 2007 Link See visitor traffic



The images on the page are under the PD-Soviet lisence which is being phased out on Commons, so we must find suitable tags and upload them to WP. (TV fair use should work for the images of the bomb explsion they were taken from Discovery Channel program on Tsar Bomba or something like that) --Saint-Paddy 17:14, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

The map[edit]

the map shows current borders. Shouldn't it show borders at the time of the detenation?

Unreferenced claim[edit]

I removed the following: "Its enormous size made the bomb impractical for warfare purposes, and American historians believe it was constructed primarily for propaganda use in the Cold War." because:

  1. The unreasoned asserion of the first clause seems questionable.
  2. The emphasis on a particular nationalit yof (unnamed) historians seems odd.

Please restore it only if such claims can be substantiated. Thanks. --Guinnog 07:32, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Sarakov said something pretty similar in his autobiograpy, IIRC - basically that it was too big and heavy to be deployed, and the very short development schedule (16 weeks) meant that it had to be designed in an extremely conservative manner meaning that it didn't really even produce any useful scientific information. I will try and find the book. TriMesh (talk) 23:43, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

i am removing the statement which says the power output is 1% the power output of the sun!!. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

I am putting it back. See discussion below. Man with two legs 19:35, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Sakharov offered the effective project to did surroundings of the USA by super-bombs (100 or even 500 megatons TNT) using vulnerability of marine border. This project can do to absurd of any idea missile defence? He wanted to cure the US neocons from an fixed idea about Russia! It can help russophobes to forget about any problems of border of Russia.Sergeispb-10 (talk) 11:58, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Your English is so poor I can't understand what you were trying to say, but I don't see any Reliable Source cites in your ... rant? ... to improve the article, and the Talk Pages are not a forum. HammerFilmFan (talk) 19:21, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

The Tsar Bomba was a three-stage Teller–Ulam design[edit]

The Tsar Bomba was a three-stage Teller–Ulam design  ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:44, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

It was actually based on Sakarov's "Third Idea", which was equivalent to the Teller-Ulam design. In fact, Teller-Ulam didn't cover the third stage, at least at the beginning, so it was advanced beyond that. SkoreKeep (talk) 03:42, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Three-stage devices and fusion tampers[edit]

"To limit fallout, the third stage, consisting of a uranium 238 fission tamper (which greatly amplifies the reaction by fissioning uranium atoms with fast neutrons from the fusion reaction), was replaced with one made of lead." This sentence is wrong. First, it implies that three-stage device necessarily means fission-fusion-fission device. It does not. A quote from "The fast fission of the secondary jacket in a fission-fusion-fission bomb is sometimes thought of, or referred to, as a "third stage" in the bomb, and it is in a sense. But care must be taken not to confuse this with the true three-stage thermonuclear design in which there is another complete tertiary fusion stage." The Tsar Bomba was a true three-stage device with a complete tertiary fusion stage. I strongly doubt it would be even possible to achieve 50 Mt yield with a single fusion stage without fast fission of the pusher/tamper of that stage. And it was the uranium pusher/tamper of the tertiary stage and possibly the pusher/tamper of the secondary stage which was(were) replaced with one(s) made of lead. The correct term would be fusion pusher/tamper as those stages were fusion stages. Fission tamper means the tamper of the primary stage, the fission trigger. Also the next sentence have to be changed to reflect the plurality of the fusion stages. I suggest someone else edit the article as my English is kinda crappy. 17:13, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, yeah, I think you're right on this. --Fastfission 20:05, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Done a few days ago. Man with two legs 11:46, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Ecology studies[edit]

An interesting aspect is what happened with ecology at the site of the explosion. Is any information available? I've heard a strange rumour that 100-megaton bomb wasn't exploded due to it would have caused irreversible extermination of local biosphere. Could it be true? ellol 15:47, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Possibly but I suspect as this article states, they were more concerned about it's effect in the Soviet population Nil Einne 15:50, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Effects on weather and climate[edit]

Were any studies done in the aftermath of the explosion on the effects of the presumably large amounts of dust, smoke, vapours and gasses pushed into the upper athmosphere on the weather/climate in the months and years afterwards ? 12:06, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Actually, on a per megaton basis, this was the cleanest bomb ever fired, because some 95% of the energy release was from fusion, and because it exploded 4 km in the air. There was no appreciable dust column, so the resulting fallout was the vaporized device itself and the fission products, plus a minor amount of carbon14 from nitrogen. Some amount of SOx and NOx was also produced which punched temporary holes in the ozone, but that's not usually considered fallout. The Russians did follow the fallout cloud eastward across the Bering Sea. The explosion was supposed to be secret, so no one else did any studies that I know of. SkoreKeep (talk) 03:54, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Disruption to radio communication[edit]

The article mentions that communication with the plane was lost following the explosion and it was about an hour before it could be verified that the crew were safe. How exactly did this occur ? Disruption to the ionosphere (if so was the effect localised or global and how long did it last) ? or EMP ? 12:06, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps, but I can tell you that a test such as this, while producing a big wallop, does not compare to a volcanic eruption in terms of material ejected into the atmosphere, and no nuclear test ever had any appreciable affect on the climate beyond the immediate hours of the blast itself (locally.) HammerFilmFan (talk) 19:24, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
This test wasn't fired in the ionosphere, so the EMP, which occurs only at the moment of the explosion, didn't have the "antenna" that the ionospere provides to blasts occurring in it. The fact that the fallout cloud got into the ionosphere later is of no effect. There was EMP, of course, as there is with every blast, but it is very local to the explosion, well within the blast destruction range, and that probably disturbed the radio propagation sufficiently. SkoreKeep (talk) 03:59, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Seismic wave[edit]

We need to add the info on the size of the seismic wave generated. Currently, it just says it was still detectable after three rounds but doesn't give a figure on the Ritcher scale Nil Einne 15:50, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

According to [1] the seisimic Richter magnitude was about mb = 5.00 to 5.25--SiriusB 12:39, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
This is something of a wonder to me. Usually when something like this is said, what is meant is the air shockwave being sensed repeatedly, as is often reported about the explosion of Krackatau in 1883. I take this with a grain of salt, because measurement of such travels in a 2-dimneional media would be exceedingly hard to show scientifically. But seismic waves are a quandry - there are three basic types of waves, with all sorts of subtypes, reflections, refractions and so on. Which wave are we talking about? If it is the surface crawling R/T waves, how can one tell, as they usually resonate the Earth like a bell? The P and S waves travel through the Earth; what does it mean to see them three times? Computation of the scale of an Earthquake makes no sense after the initial shock, no matter how large it was. It's size as a earthquake was nothing to write home about, so I don't understand, as a physicist who dabbled a year in seismology, how this makes any real sense. SkoreKeep (talk) 04:12, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Parachute debate[edit]

The "small" parachute seen in the article photo (barely larger then the diameter of the bomb casing) is not THE parachute, but only the drag chute! It was opened 2 seconds after releasing bomb from the Tu-95 airplane and served to stabilize the bomb casing nose-first and guide it away from the mother aircraft safely.

After several dozen seconds, this small drag chute separated, pulling out the main parachute, the legendary big one. I saw the film footage of an automatic ground TV zoom camera. At an altitude of 5000 meters the bomb case looked like a ladybug in the middle of a handkerchief, that big was that parachute!

(There are two versions of the Discovery Channel footage on Tsar Bomb, the rarely shown one features a single second of this, where the huge parachute is visible from below).

This is logical. If you consider the 27 metric ton weight of the bomb casing, that smallish drag chute, seen in the current article photo, could not slow the fall of the bomb long enough so that the dropping plane has time to escape while the bomb descends from 10,500 meters to 4,000 meters to detonate. So the parachute industry story is not a hoax. 17:01, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Also you can read in this PDF file that americans were air-dropping 47,000 pound H-bomb dummies using 100ft parachutes back in 1952. The Tsar Bomb was somewhat heavier, so the nylon industry story is plausible. See:
I'd appreciate it if you could point me to a photo or video of the main parachute. Takeshi357 23:48, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Power output comparison[edit]

About the sentence in the chapter "Test", saying: "This is equivalent to approximately 1% of the power output of the Sun." I think the matter is still not quite clear.

According to the Wikipedia article about the Sun, the energy output of the Sun is 3.8×1026 Watts per second. This is not directly comparable to the total power output of the bomb without doing some time conversions:

The duration of energy release of the Tsar Bomb cited was 3.9×10-8 seconds, during which time the total energy of the bomb was released. However, during this same time, the Sun releases energy in the amount of

3.8×1026 W/s * 3.9×10-8 s = 1.5×1019 W,

which is 35000 times less than the energy released by the bomb (5.3×1024 Watts) in the same amount of time. Now I'm not sure if I'm entirely correct with my calculation, as mathematics is not my strength. Please check the calculation if necessary.

What I wanted to say, however, that the article still needs clarification in the comparison to the Sun.

-Didi7 17:08, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

The term "Watts per second" is incorrect, for Watt = Joule per second is the power unit, whereas Joule measures the energy. By "Watts per second", you only could mean power altering.
I calculated the energy released by the Bomb as curtly 3kg*c², whereas the Sun releases roughly 3,600,000,000kg*c² every second. According to your account, the bomb released it's energy in curtly 40 nanoseconds, so it's power will be yielded by multiplying the energy by 25,000,000, this leads to roughly 75,000,000kg*c², which is even more than 2% the power of the Sun - correct me if necessary.--Slow Phil (talk) 21:35, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
No. You misunderstood the Sun article. It says:
"380 yottawatts (3.8×1026 W) or 9.1×1010 megatons of TNT per second"
where the "per second" refers only to the megatons, not to the yottawatts. A megaton is a unit of energy and a watt is a unit of power. Power is energy output per unit of time and in this case watts per second don't make sense.
Perhaps it's the Sun article that need clarifying? 23:08, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

-I removed the 1% claim. That would mean that sophisticated weaponry and large scale meteorite impacts create flashes comparable to stars. Present day radio astronomy enables us to view much smaller flashes. Astronomy is not my field of expertize, but as far as I know, this phenomenum is yet unrecorded. Please correct me if I am mistaken but 1% seems to be the most unrealistically high number. There must be a calculation error somewhere.

There is no calculation error. The energy output was that high only for a very brief time during the third stage burn - roughly 40 billionths of a second. Please ask first rather than just deleting like that. Thanks. Georgewilliamherbert 17:44, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Let's calculate the actual energy release compared to the sun:

Sun is 3.8 x 10^23 kiloWatts/sec Divide by 1.0 x 10^9 sec to get the net output per nanosecond give us: Sun output = 3.8 x 10^14 kiloWatts/nanosec x 1000 to get watts. Sun output per nanosec = 3.8 x 10^17 watts Sun output for 39 nanosecs = 3.8 x 10^17 watts x 39 = 1.482 x 10^19 watts over 39 nanoseconds Claimed Tzar Bomba output = 5.4 x 10^24 watts for 39 nanoseconds

Either my physics is rusty, or something doesn't add up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zencat01 (talkcontribs) 05:15, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Your use of units is incorrect because you are mixing up Watts and Joules. 1 Watt= 1 Joule/second. "Killowats/sec" is incorrect here.
Tsar bomba is 5.4 x 10^24 W, Sun is 3.8 x 10^26W according to your figures (which I am sure are correct or near enough)
so the bomb's yield as a percentage of the sun's is 5.4E24 / 3.8E26 * 100% = 1.4% —Preceding unsigned comment added by Man with two legs (talkcontribs) 21:48, 12 September 2007 (UTC)


73.85 N 54.50 E is on the North Island of Novaya Zemlya. On the Google Earth satellite imagery of that area, there appears to be a somewhat darkened eliptical area with jagged edges which is some 2,7 km wide and about twice that long, but it could just be valleys lying in the shadow. This area is some 50 km to the northeast of the Mityushikha Bay.

The link to Google Maps, where you can see the "4 km depression" on the satellite image, points to a location about 230 km away from 73.85 N 54.50 E, on the South Island. It is located at 72.00 N 52.06, which is some 175 km south of Mityushikha Bay.

Can anybody resolve these contradictions?--Cancun771 12:16, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Today I deleted the link to the Google map. I have no clue what the geographical feature is that you can see there but in all probability it can't have anything to do with Tsar Bomba. It is hundreds of kilometers away from the coordinates given in the article itself, from the Mityushikha Bay mentioned on, and from the test area called "Sukhoy Nos" where, according to the wiki on Novaya Zemlya, the test took place. In fact, that wiki mentions only three test areas and the location on this Google map wasn't too close to either of them. Also, compare the s ource mentioned on Novaya Zemlya, --Cancun771 11:16, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree, that source seems to be the best available. I just thought I'd mention that in a video of the buildup to the explosion and the explosion itself [2] Soviet officers are shown looking at a map, which then has locations for the plane take-off and bomb release superimposed (02:02). The approximate coordinates for the explosion predicted are 72°28'N 54°55'E. The Russians never actually released coordinates for their airburst tests on the island, so could this be an accidental giveaway, or perhaps a purposeful misleading of the viewer? (or some guy splicing together file footage) Howboutpete 01:28, 21 April 2007 (UTC) Why somebody insist on location of 16 km NW of Severny to be the detonation site? says that the dedtnation location was at "All buildings in Severny (both wooden and brick), at a distance of 55 km, were completely destroyed." I am active in Goole Earth Community where many enthusiasts agree and with you use Goole Earth the exact location appears to be sure many times. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:21, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Any clues taken from the land surface some 50 years after the fact are going to be misleading. First, the Tsar was exploded 4 km in the air; it's fireball never reached the ground. Secondly, it was only one of eight or so bombs dropped in the same area with yields 10 MT or greater (and a 30 or so 1MT or greater), many at lower altitudes. Thirdly, all latitude and longitude numbers for air drops are very sketchy, including American ones. The official Soviet list places some 31 tests over NZ at the same identical lat/lon, a sure indication that the true figures are not known to the public and probably not at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SkoreKeep (talkcontribs) 04:28, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

No source for windows in Finland.[edit]

This is highly improbable. Why didn't it break all the windows in the homes of millions of people closer to the blast site than Finland? If this is true, the article needs a source for it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:15, 16 March 2007 (UTC).

The closest large city to Novaya Zemlya is Murmansk, then a closed Soviet city. There aren't "millions of people closer" than closest part of Finland (also a remote area). The closest "western" settlement to the site, however, is Kirknäs/Kirkkoniemi, Norway. 20:35, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Satelite navigation on a nuclear weapon?[edit]

The article says: "However, the advent of ICBMs accurate to 500 meters or better, and especially the advent of satellite navigation, made such a design philosophy obsolete" How would this work in a nuclear war? Not for very long I think. 20:25, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

That whole section look suspect to me. As the article says near the top, this bomb was about sabre rattling and not a serious weapon. Man with two legs 20:31, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
So, I'll remove mentions of benefits of satelite navigation on a nuclear weapon. Reason: I have been unable to find any proof that sat. guided nuclear weapons exist (or could survive and be use in a n. war). Gyro/inertia guidance became very accurate after the Tsar Bomba's time any way. 18:48, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I almost hesitate to mention this, but the original statement above is technically true, from a certain point of view. Satellite navigation WAS invented to make ballistic missiles more accurate, but not for the purpose of guiding the missiles and not necessarily for ICBMs. Most nuclear armed ballistic missiles are inertially guided, and that type of guidance is more then accurate enough for most nukes (as you stated), but if you don't know the precise launch location, then the best inertial guidance in the world isn't going to help. For ICBMs it's not a big deal, survey the silo site carefully, but for submarines (which looked like the weapon of choice in the '60s because of the high cost of ICBMs) knowing the precise launch position is far more difficult. Enter the NNSS (sometimes called NAVSAT). That's right, the first satellite navigation system was created to help the US Navy more precisely know the possition of its Boomers come launch time. Only with accurate origin data can inertial navigation delivery accurately. So, in a way, satellite navigation made SSBNs more accurate, as a result, lower yield weapons could be utilized-- which you would want to do because that means more warheads per missile. However, ICBMs aren't really a part of the satellite navigation issue, nor is the accuracy of ICBMs important to this discussion. It was ICBM realiability that doomed the nuclear bomber to a secondary roll (they're a lot harder to shoot down).Nwilde (talk) 22:46, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I'll only add that I would think that a modern missile would use as many methods of navigation as are available to it, with the ability to recognize and evaluate system failures and move to backups. I can't imagine that the pentagon would be full of generals who cannot believe that the satellites will last very long, but as long as they're there they are the most accurate nav system. SkoreKeep (talk) 04:35, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

An interesting note is that, in addition to reducing fallout, the Soviet government was forced to reduce it to a 40 megaton shell. Why? At 100 megatons there was no platform that could properly carry it. So it was a test of a large bomb. Research and propoganda, but not a practical device.

--Hrimpurstala 18:36, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

That's not true. It was a 100-megaton bomb design... if fired with fissionable uranium tampers for the second and third fusion stages. It was fired "clean", with lead or tungsten tampers, which reduced the yield by about a factor of two, and the fallout by about a factor of 10. The bomb as it was dropped was clearly impractical to carry; the bomber's bottom had to be partly rebuilt to carry it, half hanging out the bottom of the airframe, and there was no way they could have flown it to the United States to drop it on anything. It was a propaganda project; the researchers already knew enough from smaller weapons to know how it would work, though it did validate their theories. Georgewilliamherbert 19:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
There might be crossed wires here: clearly the 100MT version was droppable, but it has been suggested that the aircraft would (a) not be able to carry it far, (b) would get shot down anyway and (c) not have been able to get far enough away before it went off. So whether you two disagree or not is not clear to me. Man with two legs 09:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
What was dropped was a 100-megaton version... fired with "clean" non-uranium fusion tampers, at half max yield. The size and weight of the bomb, other components, etc. are identical between the versions, it's just substituting lead or tungsten for uranium in a tamper layer. Georgewilliamherbert 19:20, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, a uranium tamper of the same dimensions as the lead tamper used would have been 70% heavier and would noticeably increase the weight of the bomb. But would the uranium tamper have had the same dimensions as the lead one? I don't know. Dricherby (talk) 00:26, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Comparison image[edit]

An image to compare the size of the Tsar Bomba mushroom cloud to the Hiroshima mushroom cloud would be a good addition to the article. Then it would give readers a general idea on how powerful the bomb was and how such a large bomb was such a mistake. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by TheOtherSiguy (talkcontribs) 20:14, 7 April 2007 (UTC).

Excellent idea, if anyone can create an appropriate graphic. Tempshill 16:14, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
What about ? SkoreKeep (talk) 04:38, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Fireball sizes: diameter or radius?[edit]

The sizes shown in the illustration are most probably the radii rather than the diameters. According to Image:Nuclear_Fireball_Radius_and_Temperature.png (which uses data from Glasstone and Dolan, 1977) and several other sources, the final diameter of the glowing fireball of a 20 kiloton air burst is about 400 to 500 metres. The diameter scales with approx. Yield0.39 which implies a diameter of about 9500 metres for a 50 megaton air burst (and even larger due to the lower air pressure at higher altitudes). Thus, the sizes given on the image description page of Image:Comparative_nuclear_fireball_sizes.svg are actually half radii or quarters of diameters. According to the Tsar Bomba article at Nuclear Weapon Archive the fireball reached the ground despite the burst altitude of 4000 m, thus the downward radius must have been at least 4000 m. The upward radius may have been even larger for reasons given above resulting in a diameter of probably larger than 8000 m. However, the diagram may refer to the diameter at an early stage of the fireball, but that would be somewhat arbitrary since the minimum possible size of the initial fireball is just the size of the bomb itself (a few metres).--SiriusB 20:24, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I did noticed that there was a discrepancy between the one image claiming an "8km diameter" and another saying "2.3km radius", but I think we will have to figure out which is correct rather than coming up with "there, that fits now!" explanations. Why would anyone give the size in "half radii"? What's the use of that measurement vs just giving the radius? (talk) 09:44, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Now there's a third image (overlay of Paris) that claims the diameter is 3.5km. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:31, 26 February 2010 (UTC).
Indeed, it's been several years since this issue has been noted... is there any way to clear this up? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:33, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Codename: IVAN[edit]

I think the codename may actually have been "BIG IVAN" [3] Is there a source for IVAN? Howboutpete 01:09, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

The Soviets almost never used code names such as western countries did. There were a few with names, mostly peaceful nuclear explosions. Most are noted by either their "Joe" number, which was assigned by the US (or perhaps NATO), or by the official Russian list published int the 90s. The Tsar Bomba was Joe-111, and #130 on the official list. As the article points out, if it had a name in the Soviet Union it was probably Кузькина мать, Kuzka's mother, which semantically translated means "We'll show you!!". SkoreKeep (talk) 04:48, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Theoretical Images of a blast[edit]

I think this page would be greatly improved with a couple of images, specifically:

  • A comparison with other nuclear blasts such as this one
  • A map of a well known and populous area (e.g. western europe) with the damage radius overlayed. perhaps with "concentric rings" showing the fireball radius, the 3rd degree burn radius and the blast damage radius.

Though morbid, this would provide an immediate understanding of the significance of the weapon. Witty Lama 15:40, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree, that would be very interesting. -- 23:26, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
The link is to an image that is a misleading bar graph which shows the mushroom cloud's height, width and depth to be proportional to the yield, which they aren't. This misuse of graphs is an old propaganda trick similar to one used by governments to give a false impression of how much they have increased spending: it makes a 2x increase have the visual impact of an 8x increase. Man with two legs 23:34, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
And it worked because I doubt very many knew that the test detonation were performed in high altitudes. Tsar Bomba in particular to prevent the fireball from hitting the ground and shooting too much radioactive soil into the atmosphere. A graph showing the blast radius instead of the mushroom cloud would probably be better. Takeshi357 10:04, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I could run up images of the various PSI overpressure and thermal and radiation damage radii for Tsar Bomba and other prior nuclear weapons. Would that be useful? Do you have suggestions for a location or locations to show in the maps? Georgewilliamherbert 00:16, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Mark Grant 00:38, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
By choosing the locations appropriately, you could do a vast amount of mischief! I would suggest London essentially because I think that the British would be laid back and unoffended about that in the way that, for example, the Israelis would not (my own house would be not vaporised but well damaged). Also, there are lots of other places nearby, including France. Man with two legs 22:15, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree with User:Man with two legs that the graph is extremely misleading. See this quote about (or maybe from?) Edward Tufte:

Before the development of spreadsheet graphing, the most common graphical mistake was the use of artist-drawn 3-D images with the height of 3-D objects representing the magnitude of the data points. In these charts, both the height and the width of the drawn object increase proportionate to the magnitude of the data points. The effect is to exaggerate the differences in magnitude as the viewer tends to perceive the area of the figures rather than just the height as representing the magnitude. (Source)

The image suggests that the Tsar Bomba, which was three or four times more powerful than Castle Bravo, is actually 40 times larger in volume (or ~10x larger in area). If explosion volume went up by about the cube of the yield (not really accurate, but much closer than this chart) the Tsar Bomba mushroom cloud would be 1.5x taller than Castle Bravo and 15x taller than Hiroshima. Instead, the diagram shows the CB and TB over a thousand times taller.
On this scale, one could conclude that since the Hiroshima bombing's mushroom cloud was about four miles high, the Tsar Bomba explosion (3,000x taller) must be larger than the Earth itself. -- (talk) 12:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

It was not cut down from 100 megatons to 50 because of fallout.[edit]

The soviets could not obtain the materials in time to make the Uranium tamper, so they used lead. They didnt reduce the fallout as a gesture of goodwill. This article reaks of communist propaganda.

please put youre signature after your remark--Cbennett0811 22:31, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

A fusion tamper is made of depleted uranium which is a byproduct of enrichment and so more or less free, so your assertion is not obviously true and needs a citation. And why do you think the article is commmunist propaganda? The word goodwill does not appear in the article, reducing fallout is sensible anyway, and the article does not say anything nice about communism. Man with two legs 17:58, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
The source for that comment (reduced to lessen fallout) is: Andrei Sakharov. 1990. Memoirs, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, pp. 215-225, ISBN 0-679-73595-X. This is considered a reliable source. In addition, a surface or near-surface burst of the dirty 100mt weapon would produce rapidly lethal fallout five hundred miles away, making testing it anywhere on Earth's surface risky. In addition, the comment above about DU or natural uranium availibility is accurate as well. Georgewilliamherbert 18:02, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Goodwill or not, I seriously doubt they would've wanted all that fallout land on their own backyards! Takeshi357 23:45, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

100MT US Bomb Tested in Atmosphere?[edit]

Former United States Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, indicates in this video that the United States designed and tested a 100MT bomb in the atmosphere during the Kennedy administration. Does anyone have any information about this? If this is correct, this would have been about twice as powerful as Tzar Bomba. Squideshi 18:25, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

I just went back and reviewed the video again. McNamara actually says "they" designed and tested a 100MT bomb in the atmosphere, but we don't know to who he is actually referring. I suspect that he's talking about the Soviets and Tzar Bomba, as Tzar Bomba was actually designed for a yield of 100MT, even though it was only tested at about a 50MT yield or so. Squideshi 19:01, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
I'd agree with your later analysis: his earlier comments use "they" exclusively for the Soviet Union and "we" to refer to the United States-- (talk) 23:05, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree, he clearly uses the term "they" referring not to the Soviet Union at 00:19 ("they< said: 'the soviets will cheat'), therefore the post above stating "exclusive" use of "they" in reference to the Soviet Union is a fallacy. In my opinion, he says the Kennedy administration did design a 100Mt bomb and (they: the designers) tested it in the atmosphere and he clearly says "i remember this" which means he was aware of the test. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
All the professional historians read it that he was talking about the Soviet Union. Sorry.
The US designed a 25 MT bomb and built a few (Mk-41 bomb), but never tested it at full yield. Biggest we did test was 15 MT. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 23:59, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Strange wording[edit]

"An apocryphal story has it that the fabrication of this parachute required so much raw nylon that the small Soviet nylon hosiery industry was noticeably disrupted." Are we sure "apocryphal" is the best word to use here? Also I find that hard to believe. The parachute wasn't -that- big.

I think the word 'apocryphal' is appropriate to use, as it eludes to the books of the apocrypha, a collection of stories included in some bibles that are regarded by many Christians to be unverified and therefore suspect. (talk) 02:30, 8 August 2011 (UTC)Freddy V

I think you mean it 'alludes' to. (talk) 08:58, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Power Comparison[edit]

The Chicxulub impact is an excellent basis for comparison, but wouldn't it make more sense to put all the information into the same units? That would make it easier for people to understand. Katami (talk) 07:33, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

This paragraph is confusing because it covers two different things: power (in Watts) and energy yield (in megatonnes and in Joules). These two cannot be expressed in the same units. The use of two different units for energy makes sense here because bomb yields are usually given in megatonnes while the SI unit of energy is the Joule. It would not make sense to rationalise the units, but it might well make sense to split this paragraph into two. Man with two legs (talk) 14:30, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Photograph of wrong bomb?[edit]

The infobox claims that the bomb was 8m long and 2m in diameter but the photograph shows a bomb casing that is around 4m long and 1m in diameter. Dricherby (talk) 00:04, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I can't agree with that. If you assume the camera was at eye height, then the bomb is taller than the man and goes most of the way to the ground implying a diameter of around 2m. I agree it does look much smaller, but that must be an illusion, perhaps due to a wide-angle lens being used when taking the photo. Man with two legs (talk) 01:10, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
If you look at The Nuclear Weapon Archive article on Tsar Bomba you see that the photo on WP is of the same device as is identified there as a Tsar Bomba empty casing or mockup. There are pictures there of the live Tsar Bomba unit under construction, with people for scale, which match the TB model in the newer photos. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 01:20, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

US tested 100MT Nuclear Bomb in the Atmosphere[edit]

Tsar Bomb was not the biggest. The United States tested 100MT nuclear bomb in the atmosphere. Here is proof, watch this video: . Sorry Russians, the U.S. wins this round. Bosniak (talk) 05:07, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Ho hum. That's why YouTube is not a reliable source. --John (talk) 05:11, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
This is the same point as discussed four sections above. Man with two legs (talk) 23:36, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Tsar Bomba/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

This article has been reviewed as part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles/Project quality task force in an effort to ensure all listed Good articles continue to meet the Good article criteria. In reviewing the article, I have found there are some issues that may need to be addressed.

  • It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
Prose is not bad, and althou MOS could use some work it too is of passable quality.
  • It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
The article does not have anything like enough inline citations. I have added {{fact} tags that are a bare minimum of what is required. Many of the citations are improperly formatted (see below for more information) finally, the article uses sources that don't seem to comply with WP:RS, please explain why the following sources and others from the same websites are considered reliable: [4], [5], [6]
  • It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  • It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    a (fair representation): b (all significant views):
  • It is stable.
  • It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic.
    a (tagged and captioned): b (lack of images does not in itself exclude GA): c (non-free images have fair use rationales):
  • Overall:
    a Pass/Fail:

I will check back in no less than seven days. If progress is being made and issues are being addressed, the article will remain listed as a Good article. Otherwise, it may be delisted (such a decision may be challenged through WP:GAR). If improved after it has been delisted, it may be nominated at WP:GAN. Feel free to drop a message on my talk page if you have any questions, and many thanks for all the hard work that has gone into this article thus far. Regards, Jackyd101 (talk) 09:09, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

I was going to delete this when I saw the recent activity on the recent changes. I'll hold off for a while, but can the editors involved comment on the changes implemented and planned just so I know how things are progressing?--Jackyd101 (talk) 19:11, 23 July 2008 (UTC)


The internet inline citations used in this article are improperly formatted. Internet citations require at the very least information on the title, publisher and last access date of any webpages used. If the source is a news article then the date of publication and the author are also important. This information is useful because it allows a reader to a) rapidly identify a source's origin b) ascertain the reliability of that source and c) find other copies of the source should the website that hosts it become unavaliable for any reason. It may also in some circumstances aid in determining the existance or status of potential copyright infringments. Finally, it looks much tidier, making the article appear more professional. There are various ways in which this information can be represented in the citation, listed at length at Wikipedia:Citing sources. The simplest way of doing this is in the following format:

<ref>{{cite web|(insert URL)|title=|publisher=|work=|date=|author=|accessdate=}}</ref>

As an example:

  • <ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Avoiding a Thirty Years War||work=[[The Washington Post]]|date=2006-12-21|author=Richard W. Rahn|accessdate=2008-05-25}}</ref>

which looks like:

If any information is unknown then simply omit it, but title, publisher and last access dates are always required. I strongly recommend that all internet inline references in this article be formatted properly. If you have any further questions please contact me and as mentioned above, more information on this issue can be found at Wikipedia:Citing sources. Regards

Explosive Comparisons[edit]

It would take the weight of approximately 8.3 Khufu Pyramids constructed out of TNT to equal the explosive power of the Tsar Bomba. The Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu) weighs approximately 6,000,000 tons at a height of 140 meters (482 feet). GodGnipael August 6, 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by GodGnipael (talkcontribs) 03:00, 7 August 2008 (UTC)


Sorry, this has been here in this state for sometime. Thankyou to everyone who worked on it, but this article is no longer a GA.--Jackyd101 (talk) 22:21, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Earthquake energy[edit]

An anon IP just changed the seismic shock wave to 7.1 on the richter scale (from the previous 5.4). Let me explain here why that was a mistake...

Yes, the energy released by a 7.1 earthquake is equivalent to 50 megatons. However, a 50 megaton bomb going off does not equal a 7.1 earthquake, in terms of the seismic energy released.... For a high altitude airburst, most of the 50 megaton bomb's energy (80%) comes off in the thermal pulse, which for a 50 megaton bomb is released over on the order of 10 seconds. Most of the rest is the blast shockwave. Most of the rest is gamma and neutron radiation.

Some of the thermal and shockwave energy couple into the ground, and cause a seismic wave similar to that of an earthquake. But for a high airburst, that earthquake energy is only a small fraction of the total blast energy, which is only a small fraction of the total. So the 50 megaton bomb produced (in addition to heat and blast wave and radiation) a 5.4 earthquake as a minor third-order effect.

If you detonate a nuclear bomb underground far enough, then the coupling is much better (close to 100%). But Tsar Bomba was a high altitude airburst.

Hopefully this clarifies the situation and explains things... Thanks. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 04:39, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. I have added a reference (the well-known Tsar Bomba page at the Nuclear Weapon Archive) that states just these numbers, 5 to 5.25, and therefore is probably the original source.
BTW it was actually not a high altitude airburst, that would be, by definition, an airburst above about 30,000 metres or 100,000 feet. It was just an airburst.--SiriusB (talk) 20:29, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
My bad on the precise terminology. It was an airburst outside of the immediate proximity to the ground - cratering and seismic energy transfer were relatively small, though the fireball did touch the ground slightly. Most "hard target" ICBM warheads detonate in much closer proximity (~0.1 Rfireball altitude instead of ~0.9 Rfireball altitude) and crater and create seismic disturbance proportionally more effectively... Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 21:30, 8 September 2008 (UTC)


Usually translated as "emperor," like its German equivalent, Kaiser — both versions of Caesar. Sca (talk) 18:01, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

По поводу 1% от энергии Солнца[edit]

Здесь вроде была дискуссия по этому вопросу.

Конечно же никакая бомба не может произвести энергию, равную 1% от энергии Солнца. Это полная чушь. Такой энергии хватит, чтобы расплавить всю Землю несколько раз. Так что это просто кто-то придумал миф, а его подхватили и распостранили.Standart12 (talk) 08:43, 15 October 2008 (UTC) там было не 1% а примерно 0,65%, а энергию солнца ты преувеличил. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:51, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Hmmm, I'm not really sure your in the right place. You do realize this is the English Wikipedia...right? DigitalNinjaWTF 14:57, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

You the racist? (talk) 07:45, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

It's not racist to point out that the language for the English Wikipedia is English... Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 18:51, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Google translation :
"It was kind of discussion on this issue.
Of course, no bomb can not produce energy equal to 1% of solar energy. This is nonsense. Such energy enough to melt the entire Earth several times. So it's just someone invented a myth, but it picked up and raspostranili."
The usual power/energy confusion, nothing new here.--Musaran (talk) 12:03, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Yield changes by anon editor[edit]

Anonymous editor at Hudson Valley Community College -

Please stop changing the yield information, it's sourced to multiple reliable published sources. If you have other sources with other information please provide us a reference for those. Please discuss your information here before changing the article again. Thank you. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 19:25, 12 November 2008 (UTC)


Citation [2] is probably not correct as it is partially contradicting citation [16]. They both references the same source. (talk) 19:18, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Comparison with sun[edit]

As I am observing for a long time, there is a constant trickle of changes in the math. I am inclined to consider as a piece of original research and to delete it from wikipedia altogether, unless a reliable reference is provided which does this comparison with sun. - 7-bubёn >t 20:44, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

As with the yield, most of the changes are by people who aren't studying nuclear weapons much and think they heard something different, or simply miscalculate. The current version is accurate. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 04:22, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
While I am inclined to believe you, this is not how wikipedia works. Please find a reference of comparison to the sun. The very fact of comparison, if unreferenced, is a piece of personal essay. Why this comparison is meaningful? Let me give an example, since it seems you know some physics. Inside a fluorescent bulb the temperature may easily rich millions of degrees, when the vacuum is high. What is the meaning of this factoid besides a "wow-cool"-type paradox? One of the lessons from it is that temperature as a measure of "heat" is misleading when used outside a "habitual range" ("if it is so freaking hot inside the lightbulb, then why it does not melt?"). Now: what is the lesson of the comparison with sun? In other words, what is the notability of this factoid besides math? Please notice also that notability must also be proven with references. - 7-bubёn >t 18:15, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
"if it is so freaking hot inside the lightbulb, then why it does not melt?" ... what's the answer? --boarders paradise (talk) 09:56, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
"Admitedly this is without knowing more than entry level uni chem/physics but my guess is it's because the vacuum is high. If you put a large ammount of energy in a single particle heat levels will seem high, but then when that heat energy dissapates to other (millions) of particles the energy isn't present to force a wholesale change of state. I'm sure someone can do better than this but there's been nothing for almost a year and I'd like to be certain of the answer too." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:05, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Parachute retardation[edit]

The "analysis section says "Parachute retardation would only worsen the bomb's accuracy." Is there any military purpose in parachute retardation? Is there any wikipedia article about it? If yes , please kill the red link. If no, I am inclined to delete this unreferenced sentence. - 7-bubёn >t 23:59, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

In my understanding, the drag parachute gets the bomb pointed in the right direction, and the main parachute gives the deploying aircraft time to flee the explosion. -- (talk) 02:10, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
It's widely used among both nuclear and conventional bombs - Gravity bomb#Retarded bomb has a short section. The term of art is "retarded bomb" - not speaking intellectually, but retarding as in slowing down. Parachutes, ballutes, or flaps are commonly used (ballutes on modern conventional bombs, flaps on older retarded bombs. Nuclear weapons can afford and may well need higher performance mechanisms, including better deployment mechanisms for the parachute. Laydown delivery bomb drops, with a supersonic low altitude strike plane, are one of the more dynamic environments to try and drop a bomb... Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 02:20, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

US giving notice[edit]

Regarding the following:

the U.S. had already announced that it considered itself free to resume testing after further notice

the U.S. had already announced that it considered itself free to resume testing without further notice

Which is it? Did the U.S. claim a right to do tests without further notice, or did it say it would give notice? --Rob (talk) 04:16, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

third-degree burns at 62 miles away?[edit]

According to the article, the heat from the explosion could cause third-degree burns at 62 miles away. However, according to an online simulator, the range of third-degree burns for a 50 MT explosion is only around ten miles. Does anyone know why the range given in the article is so high? --Ixfd64 (talk) 09:42, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

If the zone of total destruction is a 35km radius, then there's probably searing hot winds at that distance as well as anyone in direct line of sight of the fireball getting badly toasted. Are you sure that wasn't fireball diameter? Note that it didn't detonate until the planes (which we'd hope are more resiliant than and afford good protection to their squishy pilots) themselves were a good 28 miles away and receding at a few hundred mph... (talk) 09:47, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I was wondering about the same thing. Third degree burns means it destroys your skin completely. That means there has to be a strong exposure to heat for quite a while. To me that seems to be rarely a good expectation value. We should research this again and give a source.-- (talk) 16:34, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
"This means ... for quite a while" - not at all. Depends on the level of heat. Your entire body can be vaporized if you are within the ground-zero immediate area of a nuclear detonation. Extremely high heat-flash could toast your skin like a marshmallow in a few fractions of a second. HammerFilmFan (talk) 19:42, 8 August 2012 (UTC) no longer exists[edit]

I noticed several references and links to in this article, but that site no longer seems to be registered. I think these should have dead link tags added to them? Or maybe new references found? Cody-7 (talk) 03:21, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

effects of the explosion ?[edit]

While this is certainly a good-quality Wikipedia article, I regret that it does hardly deal with the most obvious and most important question: What were the effects of the explosion on humans, human infrastructure and the environment ? The article states "The heat from the explosion could have caused third degree burns 100 km (62 miles) away from ground zero." First and second degree burns are even more far-reaching. How far ? Were people wounded ? "The explosion [...] in Finland, even breaking windows there and in Sweden. [...] caused blast damage up to 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) away." 1000 km, that reaches into Norway, Sweden, Finland, and far into the mainland of Russia. If windows are shattered there, obviously people could get wounded. Were people killed or wounded as a result from the blast? How much was damaged (damage sum?) ? And most importantly: how much nuclear fallout was there? How widespread ? Which regions are still contaminated today ? Were people contaminated ? Are there any long-term studies about contamination-related illnesses (cancer,etc.) in the affected regions ?

I find it hard to understand why all these vital informations are not answered at the very beginning of the otherwise very complete wikipedia article and are even completely missing ! --boarders paradise (talk) 10:30, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Where is the reference for the breaking windows in Finland and Sweden? I haven't been able to find anything reliable on it. I looked up the reference by E. Farkas, in Nature, but that's only for the shockwave detection. As far as I can tell, the breaking windows thing is entirely unsupported, and a little unbelievable. I propose removing the sentence unless solid references can be found.

_Pblaq (talk) 22:35, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

The article makes no mention of human casualties. Does this mean that there were none? All that area all those buildings totally destroyed and no one harmed? If that enormous area successfully evacuated and no one was harmed, I think a mention is needed.--Gibson Flying V (talk) 02:48, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

There are no deaths attributed to the Tsar Bomba that I am aware of. Might there actually be some? Sure; the bomb was secret, and deaths could have been noted and buried in secret archives. Deaths could have occurred which were not attributed to the bomb. I note that the USSR did attribute three civilian deaths to their RDS-37 test (#24, Joe-19), so they weren't always reticent about doing so. SkoreKeep (talk) 05:10, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Again, I think this is worthy of inclusion in the article.--Gibson Flying V (talk) 10:38, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, perhaps, but the fact of no casualties is a common goal? requirement? of testing, even nuclear testing. One would think that you wouldn't need to say that requirement was fulfilled in any particular test; on the contrary, you certainly would say so if there were casualties, unless there are external reasons for not doing it (and with nuclear testing, security and secrecy could provide that reason). So, if you feel it's important, then by all means put it in. SkoreKeep (talk) 17:36, 5 April 2014 (UTC)


No RDS-220. It AN602 name (АН602 Russian).

Calculation Error Comparing Tsar Bomba to Hiroshima and Nagasaki[edit]


The article currently reads thus -

"The Tsar Bomba was a three-stage hydrogen bomb with a yield of 57 megatons (Mt).[2] This is equivalent to 10 times the explosives used in World War II combined, including Little Boy and Fat Man, the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[3] "

Little Boy was 14 kilotons and Fat Man was 21 kilotons. If Tsar Bomba was 57 megatons, it would be 1,629 as the two of them combined (1 mt = 1000 kt. 57,000kt / 35kt = 1628.57). ? and where is the problem? that statement sais nothing more, than 162 times more TNT equivalent were used during WW2 than both japanese explosions together. if you combine all of them, its 10 time less than tsar bomb. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

NewArgus (talk) 06:08, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

How this math is related to any changing of the current article text? - Altenmann >t 22:24, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Article about Tungus meteorit mention that Tungus impact was three times weaker than this bomb. I think, it's interesting fact to mention it in article, to compare theese events and their effects - bomb tested in tundra, while Tungus impact was in taiga, both impacts were in atmosphere. Ходок (talk) 07:34, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Name of article?[edit]

Why is this article in its Russian name and not in English "Tsar Bomb"? Gryffindor (talk) 22:56, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

What about cultural impact of event? Russian call this device Kuzma's_mother, due to contemproral replic of Khrutschev.Ходок (talk) 19:00, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Tsar Bomba translates into "Bomb King"[edit]

Strangely this is no mentioned in the article, but the literal translation of "Tsar Bomba" is "Bomb King". A tsar is a Russian king and this is the direct translation from Russian. I can confirm this because I can speak Russian, however there is also the wikipedia article that proves that Tsar translates to "king". Can that be used as reference to prove this fact?

Arafitos (talk) 18:41, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

You don't neet to translate "tsar": it has become a popular loanword, just like tycoon. - Altenmann >t 15:50, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Конструкция noun1-noun2 в русском языке обычно обозначает нечто, имеющее черты как от объектов noun1, так и от объектов noun2, и никаким образом более не конкретизирует связь noun1-noun2 с noun1 и noun2. Иногда она даже этого не означает, а просто связывает два понятия. Поэтому перевод "царь-бомба" как "Tsar of bombs" -- домысел. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Shattered windows in Finland and Norway[edit] I changed Sweden to Norway, obvious geographical error. Look at a map. The two (citation needed) in that sentence can probably be removed referring to the link above. (Roger Johansson) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:29, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

The mentioned link above shows no author and the cite is of unknown authority. Therefore it is not a valid source for wikipedia. - Altenmann >t 15:47, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

50 or 57 MT[edit]

Will people kindly stop saying the yield was 57MT? Modern sources say it was 50MT. 57MT was the American estimate which the Soviets did not deny at the time. Man with two legs (talk) 21:19, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Relatedly: "This is equivalent to 1,400 times the combined power of the two nuclear explosives used in World War II: Little Boy (13-18 kilotons) and Fat Man (21 kilotons), the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki." This is only true if you are assuming it is 57MT. It is more like 1250X if you assume it is 50 MT. Personally I think adding up the explosive yields is sort of pointless anyway—why not just say it is around 3000X the yield of the Hiroshima bomb? That's pretty impressive by itself, and takes into account the fact that yield estimates vary. -- (talk) 22:36, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Why not correct the wrong 50 MT to 57 MT right? Power has been officially confirmed 57-58,6 MT U.S. and Soviet scientists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Another thing: "The fireball touched the ground", the article says a few times. But the page at Nuclear Weapons Archive says it doesn't touch the ground—and the video footage seems to back this up. The NWA page says, specifically: "Simply from fireball radius scaling laws, one would expect the fireball to reach down and engulf the ground around the hypocenter ("ground zero"). In fact, the shock wave reaches the ground before the fireball expansion can, and bounces upward, striking the bottom of the fireball, flattening it and driving it upward, thus preventing actual contact with the ground." Which is what it looks like on YouTube, too. Which is actually a lot more interesting than it touching the ground! -- (talk) 22:42, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

This problem seems to be cropping up again. When the Tsar Bomba exploded, it was done in secret. The US first found out about it because of seismic data. For an atmospheric explosion seismic data is highly leveraged against the height of the explosion and the density and depth of the rocks underneath. The original US estimate of 57 Mt was not disputed by the Soviets, but it was found out in the 90s that their own estimates, taken with appropriate instruments at appropriate locations, was 50 Mt. That is the accepted value in most publications. However, sine there is some ambiguity, the value used on this page is 50-57 (or 58). Changing it around from that is not a good idea, as no one, it's believed, had better data on the explosion than the Soviets themselves. SkoreKeep (talk) 07:30, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

"Cleanest" nuclear bomb ever, or dirtiest one?[edit]

The Tsar Bomba's page on the nuclearweaponsarchive claims that it was the "'cleanest' weapon ever tested with 97% of the energy coming from fusion reactions". I know this is meant to be relative, but how does the bomb compare to others, esp. given its sheer yield? Has a comparison of the fallout by all deployed bombs ever been made (i. e. is it possible to say if it was the dirtiest bomb tested, and if not, which other is it)? -- (talk) 16:08, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

It is the cleanest ever in terms of amount of fallout per unit of yield. Mainly this is due to the huge fusion output of the bomb, as they say, 97%. The only fusion fallout product is tritium, when it is overproduced in the bomb. Fission products (including the fission in the second stage sparkplug) yields unburned fuel and fission products. Both stages release neutrons which activate the bombcase and a minor component of air. As it exploded 4 km in the air (which is 8 halvings of neutrons and gamma rays at the Earth's surface), activation of materials at the surface was also minimal. In absolute terms, I don't know where it would stand. SkoreKeep (talk) 05:20, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
As far as I can recall (cannot cite any sources, but I think it was mentioned in the film "From Trinity and beyond"), the Tsar was responsible for about 1% of all fallout from all the testing done during the cold war. Thus, it was immensely polluting, even though it is considered "clean". (it's the sheer size of it that made it contribute so much to the total fallout figures).Znapper74 (talk) 11:52, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

new bomb of space[edit]

Please don't put uncited "conspiracy theory" nonsense on the Talk Pages - they are for the discussion of Reliable Sources for the improvement of the article. HammerFilmFan (talk) 19:50, 8 August 2012 (UTC)


According to A Review of Nuclear Testing by the Soviet Union at Novaya Zemlya, 1955--1990, (page 18 of 42) the device exploded at 73.85◦ N, 54.50◦ E.

--One Salient Oversight (talk) 01:56, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

What we see on the movies of the explosion has nothing to do with the fjord landscape corresponding to these coordinates. Alex2006 (talk) 05:51, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
You might also want to know that the round off error in those coordinates, assuming they are precise as given, extends roughly a kilometer in any direction. SkoreKeep (talk) 05:31, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Sun comparison removed[edit]

This edit removed an uncited claim that an equivalent volume of the Sun's core would take millions of years to produce the same energy. Carefully read, the claim is plausible because fusion in the Sun does occur at a very low rate, but as it is uncited, it seems reasonable to leave it out.

Starting with the fact the bomb volume cannot exceed 32 cubic metres (it's evidently less than this), the calculation is simple: the Core section of Wikipedia's Sun article shows that the "Fusion Power Density " at the Sun's centre is approximately 276.5 Joules per second per cubic metre;[1] and 50 megatons of TNT-equivalent at 4.2e9 J/ton TNT-equivalent equal 2.1e17 Joules; divide by 32 and get 6.56e15 Joules per cubic metre; divide by 276.5 to get 2.372e13 seconds, which is 751,657 years. To get the uncited claim of 10 million years one would need to assume a total nuclear assembly volume of 2.4 cubic metres.

We would need a cite for that total assembly volume; and we would need to decide whether such comparisons are useful to the reader (it's more an observation that the Sun does not really produce much energy per unit volume, so I suspect not).

  1. ^ Table of temperatures, power densities, luminosities by radius in the Sun. (1998-11-09). Retrieved on 2012-06-30.

-84user (talk) 12:51, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Was it a weapon as such?[edit]

Was the Tsar Bomba a "weapon" or a "device"? If it couldn't realistically be used as a deliverable weapon, should it still be considered a weapon? Not sure I'm explaining this as well as I wish to, but I'm not sure whether there are any references suggesting this was actually tested with an aim to make a weapon from it, but rather tested as a show of strength SirTrunkerton (talk) 20:50, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

I think it occupies one end of a spectrum between "test device" and "weapon". The US and Russia both did dedicated test devices, that had no attempt made to be able to carry on an aircraft or missile, no fins or pointy nose, no fuzing system for detonation after drop, etc. This was not at that end of the spectrum. The Trinity test device was a large sphere with a lot of boxes of electronics around it, mounted at the top of a tower, with power leads from the ground support locations. The Fat Man (Mark 1) type bomb had the fairing, aerodynamics, fins, fuzing system, etc.
Tsar Bomba had a fully functional aerodynamic fairing, parachute system, fins, and airdrop fuze. In terms of "can this be dropped in a weapons-like manner from a combat aircraft" the answer is yes.
On the other hand, I think they only made one aircraft modification for carrying and dropping it, they only made the one test device / weapon (plus a non-weapon mockup you find now in a museum).
The US introduced "TX-" classification weapons; test/experimental weapons that were weaponized, but not fully ready for series production. They were deployed in limited numbers (10, 20, 50 I think in one case), but specifically identified as still being experimental and in the process of being made ready for full standardization and mass production.
If we look at say Trinity at one end of the spectrum, and a US TX- series weapon at the other, then Tsar Bomba was much closer to the TX- weapons. Only one made, but was droppable, was tested in a field drop test, etc.
Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 21:18, 9 January 2013 (UTC)


There seems to be confusions with the result of the incident. It says the Fireball radius is 3.5km which is 7km in diameter, but part of it says 'about' 8km. It should be close to probably 7.8km diameter. Another thing is how high the fireball reached, which said 10.5km above ground zero. But in this sentence of the page: "The fireball reached nearly as high as the altitude of the release plane and was seen almost 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from ground zero" is incorrect as 1000km is outer space.

If it is possible, add specifications in one section for it to be understandable:

Fireball diameter and height

Fallout diameter

Mushroom cloud height and diameter

How long until the cloud faded

How far did the shockwave travel — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:44, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Do you understand that distance is not the same thing as altitude? Or you failed to understand what does “was seen” mean? Nobody claims that grey aliens observed the fireball from their flying saucer 1000 km from the Earth’s surface, although they certainly were able to see it. These were humans on the land and possibly in Arctic Ocean. On the sea level, or near it, but 1000 km away; do you understand? Incnis Mrsi (talk) 14:27, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

"One participant in the test saw a bright flash through dark goggles and felt the effects of a thermal pulse even at a distance of 270 kilometres (170 mi). " Said this way, this sentence contains an untruth. "Bright flash" and "thermal pulse" travel at the speed of light, so he saw it and felt it immediately, and the distance at which he saw it was about 45-50 kilometres that the drop place had flown so far. Elsewhere in this article they mention the turbulence caused by the shock wave. My quick calculation shows that the plane was about 270 kilometers away when the shock wave, which travels at about 300 metres/second in the plane's altitude, reached it. Mattstonelake (talk) 14:17, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

These things you seek aren't "specifications". They're results, and they aren't easily quantifiable. Fireball diameter and height (center above ground) are fairly well known - about 4km, about 2.5 km. These things were observed from far away, and they didn't have a handy km-stick in place to measure with, so of course they are "about". Do I hear a volunteer for the next try?
Fallout doesn't occur in a diameter. It varies with the all of the various wind-sheers that occur at various levels, and Tsar visited about all of them that exist. Further, as a general rule, the heavier stuff falls close to the stem while the lighter dust may make revolutions around the globe before falling out. Mushroom cloud height and diameter are, again, "about" known. And how long till it faded depends on what you mean by fade; some of it may still be up there. How far did the shockwave travel? Well, what's your definition of a shockwave? Does it include the acoustic front? Do you mean noticeable by people or by instruments? If it goes around the world in every direction, how far is that?
This is one reason so many people shun science - the "easy" questions have difficult, sometimes boring answers that often simply ask more questions. The interesting thing is, though, the deeper you dig the better you wind up understanding the processes, even when you can't answer these questions. Sorry if this is not satisfying to you. SkoreKeep (talk) 20:17, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

external video not available worldwide due to copyright[edit]

The article links to an external video saying "available on-line". But when I load the video page from Greece I get a page saying the video can't play in my country due to copyright. Therefore the video is not generally available on-line as the article suggests, and therefore the article misinforms the reader. I believe that an explanation after the link like "not available in all countries due to copyright" is necessary to enable the reader to get accurate info form Wikipedia, as the video page is essentially the equivalent of a dead link for people outside the countries where the video is available. Cogiati (talk) 11:20, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

  • you can test the video page using a proxy or Tor to see how it looks to users from other countries, it just loads a page saying it's not available due to copyright. So, the video is not generally available on-line, it's only available to certain countries. So we need to give this info to the reader just as we warn users that a link is dead or that a link leads to a PDF etc. Cogiati (talk) 11:25, 15 September 2013 (UTC)


There are details in this article about the impact of this bomb test, how powerful it was, blowing down houses and windows. But there is nothing about people dying from the impact or subsequent radiation. Was this testing area even habitable afterward? Is it because this occurred during the Cold War that this information isn't available? It's hard to imagine that the most powerful bomb ever created in history being detonated had no human casualties. Liz Read! Talk! 23:35, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

See same question, "Effects of Explosion" above. No one is officially listed as dead of the explosion as far as I know. That doesn't mean no one died from it, though the Russians weren't that secrecy-sensitive that they wouldn't note it; they noted three people killed by freak weather focusing the force of the RDS-37 (for "real" h-bomb) test. The island is not a tropical paradise, though it did have a small population before the war. Nothing visible grows there, just as it doesn't on Ellesmere Island in northern Canada. The visible surface is rock; there is no soil. Whether that's due to the cold and wind, or to the 200+ nukes tested there since 1950, I don't know, but an even more beat up island (Enewetak) grows tropical lushness, if slightly glowing, as we speak. SkoreKeep (talk) 05:10, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

What's A.E.C.?[edit]

What's A.E.C. in the phrase "The original, November 1961 A.E.C. estimate of the yield was 55–60 Mt"? Is it listed on the Atomic_Energy_Commission_(disambiguation) page, or something else? If not, should there be another entry in the AEC page? - ZeniffMartineau (talk) 04:49, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

It's the United States Atomic Energy Commission, the fore-runner of the current Department of Energy. It took over all American atomic design, testing, experimentation and manufacture from the Manhattan Project in 1947. SkoreKeep (talk) 04:58, 16 February 2014 (UTC)