The art of firework dissection

Six months ago, I bought some diffraction-grating glasses at the Deutsches Museum. These amazing glasses, like any diffraction grating, take the light you see with your eyes and split it into its component colours (kind of like that Pink Floyd album that everyone seems to know). Last night I remembered to take these glasses with me to watch the Sydney NYE fireworks, although sadly the pudding was left at home because I wasn’t sure what security would make of a round dancing pudding filled with wiring. The glasses worked to great success! Fireworks are impressive already, but diffract them into their chemical composition and you have something awesome.

I thought I’d try to match the spectral signatures I saw in my movies and photos to the likely chemical make-up of the firework. Caveat: I might be an astrophysicist but I’m definitely not a chemist, and I guessed at some of these. Feel free to get in contact with me if you have corrections! I compared the spectra I saw to the great Chemisty of Fireworks infographic by Compound Interest using the atomic emission spectra here by Alan Jircitano, and picked what seemed to be the likely chemical compound at work.

Here is my attempt at an infographic of sorts, enjoy!


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