Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

The New Year's Eve Ball "Drop"

Sign in to follow this  


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!

Sign in to follow this  

1 Comment

Recommended Comments

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

  • Create New...