NOVA Online (see text links below)
NOVA News Minutes
The Rocket's Blue Glare

(running time 01:39)

June 30, 2003

NARRATOR: Fireworks are getting more sophisticated all the time, to the point that some might think of them of art.

Alberto Navarro (Infinity Visions): People don't think that fireworks is an art expression—they think only fireworks as bang-bang-bang and a lot of noise. But it's like painting.

NARRATOR: Alberto Navarro, who started as a painter, now creates major fireworks displays around the world. But a "sky-painter" needs a palette of vibrant colors. And that has just recently become possible.

Alberto Navarro (Infinity Visions): Especially in the last ten years, there has been a big change and now it's possible to create any color in the spectrum of light. And also colors that are more balanced, that have the same luminance.

NARRATOR: As shown on PBS's NOVA, fireworks get their colors from the burning of metal-based compounds. Strontium creates a red flame, barium, green, and copper, blue.

NARRATOR: Blues in particular are still difficult to produce—even though fireworks have been around for centuries. That's because copper compounds can be unstable at high temperature. So chemists are constantly refining their formulas to create a pure, deep blue.

Alberto Navarro (Infinity Visions): You can burn too much and then you will wash the depth of the color. It has been the challenge for fireworks manufacturers for many years.

NARRATOR: But with the help of a little chemistry, you'll be watching the vivid trail of the rocket' glare. I'm Brad Kloza.

Printer-Friendly Format   Feedback

Name That Shell | Anatomy of a Firework | Pyrotechnically Speaking | On Fire
Resources | Transcript | Teacher's Guide | Site Map | Fireworks! Home

Search | Site Map | Previously Featured | Schedule | Feedback | Teachers | Shop
Join Us/E-Mail | About NOVA | Editor's Picks | Watch NOVAs Online | To Print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated July 2003

Shop Teachers Feedback Schedule Previously Featured Site Map Search NOVA Home Site Map Fireworks! Home