Lighting up The Sky

I’ve been hearing the phrase “lighting up the night sky” far too often in the news lately. While pondering the state of world affairs, it occurred to me that there are really only a few good ways to “light up the night sky.” That would be meteor showers, drone displays, and fireworks. Just sayin’.

Interestingly, and in some ways unfortunately, drone displays may be the future of “fireworks” given increasing wildfire hazards. Several cities in the American West have already made the switch. Traditional pyrotechnics also release a lot of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere. This venerable tradition, started in China around 600–900 AD, may well go the way of bull fighting, gladiators, and greyhound racing.

If drones do replace pyrotechnics there’ll be some aspects of traditional displays difficult to replicate. Speaking from experience, and having attended many professional displays, drones will have a tough time providing the olfactory pleasure of burning gunpowder, the visceral infrasound sensations of percussive explosions, or the occasional thrill of a rocket going off course. Sigh.

Nonetheless, in the spirit of the holiday season, I share with you here the Grand Finale of the 2009 Pyrotechnics Guild International “Symphony of Stars” presentation in Mason City, Iowa. Shot with my old Sony TVR310  8mm camcorder long before the days of smart phones. Enjoy!

Next Week in Sky Lights ⇒ Pendulums and Grandfather Clocks

Q&A: White Hydrogen
Q&A: Pendulums and Grandfather Clocks