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The New Year's Eve Ball "Drop"



As you may know, people ring in the new year every year by watching the events taking place at Times Square, most importantly the ball drop starting one minute before January 1st. However, calling it a "ball drop" is a tad misleading because it doesn't actually free fall to the ground, the 11,875 pound (5386.4 kg) ball slowly descends down a 43 meter tall flagpole in the span of 60 seconds. It is not as stunning as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, the ball is made up of 2,688 crystals, but it doesn't fall to the ground and shatter into a million pieces, which would be much more breathtaking to watch in my opinion.

If the Times Square Ball were to drop from 43m, without air resistance, the ball would crash to the ground in 2.96 seconds. In order for the ball to free fall to the ground in the same 60 seconds that it takes to go down the flag pole, the ball would have to be dropped from 17,702 meters in the air, which is about 11 miles. Most planes don't fly any higher than 12,000 meters, or 7.5 miles, in the air. This means that if the ball were to free fall to the ground in 1 minute, it could potentially hit a plane on the way down, and who knows how anyone could ever get it up that high in the first place. I guess now I realize that it makes sense for the ball to go down a flagpole instead of free falling in 60 seconds!

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