Fireworks are as much a part of July Fourth as barbecues, parades and red, white and blue, but have you ever stopped to think what makes them flare up in the first place?

Materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez sheds some light on what causes fireworks to erupt in different colors and how they also play a role in the way astronomers look at the galaxy. Yeah, the science of fireworks has some relevance to the world of astronomy and  chemistry. Hmm, maybe we should have paid more attention during our chem labs in high school.

So, when the night erupts in a cacophony of colors, just remember there's a whole lot more going on than just bright lights and loud bangs that unite us a nation.

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