Science & Tech

Why were shadows left behind after the Hiroshima atomic bomb?

Why were shadows left behind after the Hiroshima atomic bomb?
How Powerful Was The Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima?
Underknown - Shorts / VideoElephant

Shadows left behind at Hiroshima have left people confused, but experts have explained what they are.

On 6 August 1945, the Japanese city of Hiroshima was left decimated after the United States dropped an atomic bomb. Haunting before and after photos reveal the devastation that occurred there when hundreds of thousands of people were killed.

After the nuclear blast, “shadows” appeared to be left on the remaining infrastructure and include the outlines of human beings, bikes and other objects.

An example can be seen in the Human Shadow Etched in Stone exhibit at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It is believed to show the place an anonymous person was sitting that day when the bomb struck. They were likely killed instantly and their identity remains unknown.

Many people wrongly believe that the “shadows” were caused by people being instantly vaporised. However, experts have confirmed that the shadows are not from vaporised bodies, due to the sheer amount of energy required to do so.


Dr Minako Otani, professor emeritus at Hiroshima University explained to the Japanese publication Peace Seeds: “We don't know how deep the heat rays reach into the body, but even if the human body is burned, carbonized tissue or at least bones will remain.”

The shadows were formed as the atomic energy that travelled through Hiroshima and encountered objects along its path. While the objects absorbed the enormous energy, the rest of the force continued past them, essentially bleaching the surrounding area and casting shadow-like shapes.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, a watch which melted during the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, sold for more than $31,000 at auction.

The watch is frozen in time at the moment of the detonation of an atomic bomb over the Japanese city — 8:15 a.m. — during the closing days of World War ll, according to Boston-based RR Auction.

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