Anatomy of a Firework

What are we observing when we watch a fireworks show?

A firework is comprised of several explosive compartments contained in a cylindrical launch tube. Most important to the aerial display are the stars. Stars are small pellets that contain particular mixtures of gunpowder, binding agents, and coloring elements. Hundreds of stars go into a single firework, and are often created by hand. When the stars are detonated, they explode in the colorful, shimmering display we love so much.