You can find several videos showing the detonation of the Tsar bomb, a Soviet nuclear weapon (strongest ever tested). Most of them are bad quality and look very old. But also you can find this video:

World's Most Powerful Neclear Bomb - Tsar Bomba - YouTube

This is very good quality, looks newer, and is from different angle than the other videos. Is this is a real video of the Tsar bomb, a video of another nuclear explosion, no real video at all (computer animation)?

  • Why do we here anything before the shockwave arrives? Aug 8, 2015 at 3:04
  • It doesn't directly prove anything but this video was uploaded in 2014, and appears to be based on a 2008 video. In 2011, the same user (kuroiso, whose website includes examples of his (?) digitally rendered art) also uploaded a HD version. I've provisionally concluded it is likely generated by this user, but that is far from a definitive answer; I hope it helps someone create one.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 10, 2015 at 1:57
  • 3
    Looks CGI to me, not even particularly photorealistic CGI.
    – NPSF3000
    Aug 10, 2015 at 4:06

2 Answers 2


One thing that seems to contradict the claim is the blue skies. In various articles about the event a clouded sky is mentioned, and in this video (YouTube, starting at around 1:40) there is footage apparently showing the plane over the target area and the release of the bomb. In those pictures, the sky is clearly covered in clouds, so both videos can't show the same event.

Also, the terrain in your video seems wrong. Novaya Zemlya is a mountainous arctic island with a very ragged coast line. The detonation site (Google Maps, location sourced from Wikipedia) would likely feature mountains, green and grey terrain, likely snow, possibly coastline. The terrain in the video you posted looks more like a flat, hot sand / rock desert.

  • While the video does show the Tsar Bomba, it also shows a number of completely unrelated American nuclear explosions.
    – March Ho
    Aug 8, 2015 at 6:09


Without being able to prove what it actually is (it probably is CGI) there is a huge amount of photos and videos that show the tsar bomb deployment along with its explosion, that all agree with each other, but have distinct differences. For example let us take this montage of screenshots from one of the typical tsar bomb videos (from http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2012/09/12/in-search-of-a-bigger-boom/):

enter image description here

When we compare this to the explosion happening at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R7pZOAWQrk&t=24 to that image and the explosin of the footage (possibly) from the plane that dropped the bomb at https://youtu.be/H9AMtUeyDP0?t=131 we can clearly note that

  • On the screenshot we see a cloudy day, not a bright blue sky
  • The sound timing does not match an explosion of that magnitude (wikipedia says ~8km fireball size, so we are much further away, too much for any sound to travel so quickly)
  • The fireball of the real bomb is round
  • The plume seems to be siginificantly faster in the real bomb
  • The ratio of plume to ground cloud is different in all axis
  • In the real video the fireball vaporizes parts of the clouds, and the plume rises through some clouds.
  • When the plume begins to form, the fireball first stands still, while the plume is rising up to it. The plume though forms due to the fireball rising upward and sucking everything with it.
  • Both videos having about the same level of detail in the cloud, if not more in the real one, while you would expect more details in the HD version.
  • The real explosion is very likely filmed from an airplane, given that the view angle is from above, and there is movement, and we see views from below and above the cloud layer. The presented video however seems to have an angle of some elevated ground, and the "camera shakes by shockwave" effect makes one think of a tripod (and also that one is too fast for the distance it must be at)
  • Typical for these kind of explosions is that there is a first bright flash which quickly fades down due to ionization, just to rise again much brighter (See for example this thermal chart). This effect is visible in the real bomb, but not in the presented.
  • The overall video quality is just too good to be from the time. Even though Super8 and similar films can have the same image information like HD, they are usually worse and have grain and speckles and so on. Although these might have been digitally removed, it is very unlikely to lead to that quality.

So they depict different events, and the chance of that video being the real one, while all others are fake is diminishing low.

  • Generally you can compare to nuclear test compilations like youtube.com/watch?v=P_o65B1JTiw and you can right away say that this one "feels" fake, without being able to pinpoint anything as of why.
    – PlasmaHH
    Sep 30, 2015 at 14:34

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