Nuclear tests: databases and other material--Johnston's Archive

Bluegill nuclear test, 1962

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 6 November 2006

Date: 26 October 1962

Location: Pacific Ocean near Johnston Island

Type of event: retinal burns from high altitude nuclear test


At 8:59 UT the US conducted a high altitude nuclear test near Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean. The test, Bluegill 3 Prime, was designed to investigate the effects of nuclear explosions at high altitudes. The test used a W50 warhead with a yield of 400 kilotons delivered to an altitude of 48.2 km by rocket. Two personnel, an Air Force officer and a Navy officer, sustained retinal burns at a slant range of about 50 km. Neither individual was wearing their protective goggles at the time. The Air Force officer suffered a reduction of central vision initially to 20/400, which improved to 20/25 after six months. The Navy officer suffered permanent eye damage, with central vision never improving beyond 20/60, and was medically discharged.

Consequences: 2 injuries.


© 2006 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 6 November 2006.
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