This year, when the Times Square Ball drops at 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Eve, it will be bigger than ever, at double the size of any other Ball in history, and nearly 12,000 pounds heavy. However, this ball, which is lit up by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs, is also decidedly green: It only uses as much energy as two household ovens.
LEDs, or light emitting diodes, use much less power than traditional bulbs, and unlike CFLs, don't contain mercury. LEDs can last for years, and sometimes even decades. The LEDs on this year's Times Square Bulb will create 16 million colors and billions of patterns, while still achieving a 10 to 20 percent upgrade in energy efficiency, as compared to last year's ball.
In case you miss the ball drop, no worries: The new ball will reside above Times Square for public viewing from January through December of 2009.