Things that go ‘boom’ in the summer night


Fireworks are staples of summer, when neighborhoods sporadically light up with multicolored splendor and distant pops can be heard on a regular basis.

Most fireworks are made of a small tube called an aerial shell that contains various explosive chemicals, according to the American Chemical Company. The shell has gunpowder and something called “stars,” which give fireworks their color when they explode. The shell is housed in a mortar that will launch the firework into the air after a fuse is lit. Ultimately, a bursting charge of the firework explodes and ignites the black powder and stars.

If the stars are randomly placed in the shell, they will produce random patterns. But many fireworks are carefully created so that the stars are placed to allow for specific patterns when the firework explodes. 

The following are some types of fireworks that surely will be lighting up night skies:

• Brocade: This firework has a large number of trailing stars falling slowly in an umbrella pattern. It’s one of the most common firework effects.

• Cake: Sometimes called a “repeater” or a “multi-shot aerial,” a cake is a firework that has a single fuse used to light several tubes in sequence. They fire at a rapid pace and can sometimes feature more than 1,000 shots. Cakes are often used as part of a show’s finale.

• Chrysanthemum: This is a spherical break of colored stars that leave a visible trail of sparks.

• Crossette: A crossette is a shell that contains several large stars that travel a short distance before breaking apart into smaller stars with loud crackling sounds. This creates a criss-crossing effect.

• Dahlia: This shell produces a starfish-like shape when it bursts.

• Fish: These produce an aerial effect that seems like several objects swimming through the air and only lasts a few seconds.

• Pistil: A pistil features a center sphere of stars that burst in a spherical shape. Pistils contain an outer sphere of stars as well.

• Roman candle: This firework has a paper tube that shoots flaming balls out of one end of the tube.

• Strobe: Similar to other fireworks with a spherical break shape, this has the added effect of blinking components that makes it appear like shimmering water in the sky.

• UFO: This firework spins very fast and lifts high into the sky, where it bursts into a special aerial effect. They’re sometimes called helicopters, sky flyers or planes.