9 September 2015

The Vela event of 1979

4_Vela satellite.jpg

1_Classic double flash.jpg

2_So Africa flashes.jpg

3_Random flashes.jpg

Slide 1 of 4

Artist’s illustration of Vela satellite in orbit.

The lines here depict the classic "double-flash" of light emitted from a nuclear weapon test — in this case, a 19-kiloton device — as detected by a bhangmeter of the type used by the Vela satellite.

The two graphs here show the flashes picked up by the two different bhangmeters of a Vela-class satellite over the seas below South Africa on September 22, 1979. (Due to the thresholds of the bhangmeters, they cut off the bottoms of the curves, but the peaks can be readily observed, making for a double-flash.)
In comparison, random flashes, or "zoo" events, look nothing like what was detected by the satellite in 1979.