ALONG WITH BURGERS, brats, and BBQ, fireworks are a Fourth of July staple in the US. And they always have been. Founding father John Adams wanted “illuminations from one end of this continent to the other” to commemorate Independence Day even before the 13 colonies were fully independent. But the chemical cocktail that explodes in showers of color hasn’t changed all that much since those days. Sure, the shows have gotten far more sophisticated—technicians can now time brighter colors, comets, and complex displays to the crescendo of any song. Here’s what lights up the sky.
Hot damn. This 573-pound firework basically fills the entire night’s sky with explosions so ridiculously huge and, like, everywhere that it’s almost unbelievable. One second you’re just watching normal fireworks go off, and then the next, you’re being blinded with the most insane 5-second light show your eyes will probably ever see.
Mark your calendars for fireworks, Earthlings. And no, I’m not talking about the little peonies you’re shooting off the back deck tonight. Astronomers have wised up to a much more epic light show that’s going down 5,000 light years away. And in 2018, it’s coming to a telescope near you.
It’s that time of year again, when you find yourself driving furiously across state lines because your puritanical lawmakers don’t want you sparking up some Black Cats in your backyard. Before you go, check this list of the fireworks that are allowed near you.