The Times Square Ball – An LED Celebrity

On New Year’s Eve, Times Square was packed with stars including Miley Cyrus, Blondie, Icona Pop and Macklemore—but the real celebrity of the night was the LED-adorned Times Square Ball. The Ball, which is a geodesic sphere, is 12 feet in diameter and weighs 11, 875 pounds. An estimated million people watched the Ball descend from Times Square and another billion throughout the world. Miley Cyrus got nothing on the LED Times Square Ball!

In 2007, a new Times Square Ball was outfitted with LEDs to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Times Square Ball Drop tradition. The LEDs replaced existing incandescent and halogen bulbs to increase brightness, color capabilities, and efficiency. The ball has gone through several replacements since 1907, with the newest constructed in 2009.

This year, the Ball is composed of 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles bolted to 672 LED modules which are attached to the Ball’s aluminum frame. Each LED module contains 48 LEDs—12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color! With 32,256 LEDs, the Ball is capable of creating 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns.

The annual ball also featured a 7-foot 2014 color display for the first time in history. The “14” lit up in multiple colors using 207 LED lamps which have more than 16 million color options each. Unlike other light sources, LEDs allow for countless possibilities.

To further increase the energy efficiency, six Citibikes from the city’s bike share program were installed in Times Square and connected to 12-volt deep cycle batteries, according to Why? New Yorkers and tourists were able to generate power for the Ball by pedaling! Each bike can generate an average of 75 watts an hour. It would take the bikes approximately 110 hours to produce the 50,000 watts to power the Times Square Ball.

The first Times Square Ball was made of iron and wood and adorned with 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, was five feet in diameter and weighed only 700 pounds. Like the Times Square Ball, lighting has come a long way in the past century and continues to advance, making commercial and sports lighting more efficient and affordable.

I know I said Christmas was my favorite holiday, but this year’s Times Square Ball is winning me over. To learn more about the Times Square Ball, check out the official site of Times Square. For more lighting facts, follow me on twitter @doctorbulb, like me on Facebook, check out my Google+ profile, and subscribe to my blog!


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