What makes fireworks colorful?
It all thanks to the luminescence of metals. When certain metals are heated (over a flame or in a hot explosion) their electrons jump up to a higher energy state. When those electrons fall back down, they emit specific frequencies of light - and each chemical has a unique emission spectrum.
You can see that the most prominent bands in the spectra above match the firework colors. The colors often burn brighter with the addition of an electron donor like Chlorine (Cl).
But the metals alone wouldn’t look like much. They need to be excited. Black powder (mostly nitrates like KNO3) provides oxygen for the rapid reduction of charcoal (C) to create a lot hot expanding gas - the BOOM. That, in turn, provides the energy for luminescence - the AWWWW.
Aluminium has a special role — it emits a bright white light … and makes sparks!
Bismuth occurs naturally and has the atomic number 83.
It’s the most naturally diamagnetic element and has been known about since the 18th century.
It’s very slightly radioactive with a half-life of more than a billion times the age of the Universe.
On this June 27, 1989:
The Canadian Astronomical Society dedicated June 27 as “Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Day”. It was built by an international partnership of Canada’s National Research Council, France’s Centre national de la recherche scientifique and the University of Hawaii. It was the first large telescope to be placed at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, considered by many to be the finest site on Earth for observing the universe. The clarity and uniformity of the atmosphere above the location, and the quality of the telescope have contributed to significant advances in the study of quasars, black holes and other areas of research.
(image: By Vadim Kurland (originally posted to Flickr as IMG_2611.jpg) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons http://ow.ly/y8Wuw
text from Canada Science and Technology Museum
What do Freud, Maria Abramovi, Beethoven, and you have in common? For one, the need to sleep.
The science of sleep and its glorious effects on creativity, productivity, and sanity gets a lot of press these days. That said, the sleep habits of some of your favorite writers, musicians, and artists may surprise you a little.
The bedtimes and rising times of history’s greatest minds are inventively illustrated in Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. The infographic seems to debunk the myth that geniuses stay up through the wee hours working manically, and that you’re more creative when you’re tired—most of these 27 luminaries got a wholesome eight hours a night.
Interesting approach, Balzac.
Holy psychedelic rocks, Batman! These awesome stones aren’t stone at all. They’re made of a substance called Fordite, also known as Detroit or Motor Agate. All of those beautiful layers are old automobile paint, countless layers of it, that accumulated in car factories over the years back when they cars were spray-painted by hand and excess paint dripped onto the metal tracks and skids that transported cars through the paint shop during the painting process. Thanks to the high heat that was used to bake the paint onto the cars, the layers hardened enough to be cut and polished into these beautiful industrial gems.
"Not much is known about how the pieces left the old factories, but it is assumed that ‘some crafty workers with an eye for beauty realized that this unique byproduct was worth salvaging. It was super-cured, patterned-like psychedelic agate, and could be cut and polished with relative ease!’"
Today this captivating material is shaped and polished into rings, necklaces, earrings, and of course beautiful stones like you see here. Because the painting process that created this substance no longer exists, Fordite is considered to be increasingly rare. But there’s still enough around to get some for yourself if you like. Check out the Fordite website to learn more.
Visit My Modern Metropolis for additional photos.