Experts Say

A new look at 1979's mysterious nuclear (we think) explosion


January 23, 2018
By Colby Cosh

There are many names for whatever happened in the South Atlantic on Sept. 22, 1979, but the most typical one is “the Vela Incident.” It is one of the genuine mysteries of 20th-century history — not a contrived mystery like “Who killed the Lindbergh baby?”, but the real deal: a whodunit, combined with a whatwuzzit. At just past midnight on the key date, an American satellite designed to detect nuclear explosions, Vela 6911, “announced” to ground stations that it was pretty sure it had just seen one.
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