Rockets of the kind that take up space shuttles
(launched by NASA in the Florida or the European
Space Agency in French Guiana) just have a lot of
smoke and bright light trailing them. The color of
the light changes from red to white depending on
how hot it is. They are nice to watch but not as
colorful as the firecracker rockets that one sees
on the fourth of July. In firecracker rockets,
certain special salts are added to give the flame
nice colors. For example, potassium salts
provide a nice crimson color, blue is provided by
copper salts, green by barium salts etc. The
actual mechanism whereby these salts, when heated
emit light of different colors requires an
understanding of the structures of the atoms.
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