We can probably imagine what most of those explosions would look like, and what the repercussions would be, but what about that final one? What would happen if a nuclear bomb went off in space?
n the most dramatic stages of the Cold War , Russia and the United States were testing nuclear bombs left and right, and due to fears of a long-range nuclear missile or a satellite delivery system for a nuclear warhead, all eyes were on the skies. The United States had launched a series of tests code named Project Fishbowl, which were high-altitude nuclear weapons tests. The most impressive and historic test in this Project was Starfish Prime. On July 9th, 1962, a 1.4 megaton nuclear bomb was detonated approximately 250 miles above the surface of Earth.
Since there is no atmosphere in space, there was no iconic mushroom cloud, nor a blast wave (which is where most of the damage of a nuclear bomb comes from on Earth). Instead, there was an intense outpouring of not only heat and light, but high-intensity radiation in the form of gamma rays and X-rays, with no atmosphere to interrupt their path. Visually, the blast was roughly spherical, and the wave of radiation and light expanded to light up the sky.
On the surface of the planet, vivid auroras of light would be seen for thousands of miles within minutes of the blast, because the charged particles from the blast would immediately begin interacting with Earth’s magnetic field. Imagine the aurora borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, except spread across thousands of kilometers above the Pacific Ocean.
The explosion in space creates no shockwaves,but a supermassive EMP pulse,stopping the flow of electrons and thus disabling electronic and electric equipment.