NY Times Square ball 'goes green'

The New Year's Eve ball in New York's Times Square is celebrating its 100th birthday by going green, after being revamped with energy-efficient lights.

The new 6ft (1.8m) ball, weighing about 1,100lbs (500kg), is covered with 9,576 light-emitting diodes that use the same amount of electricity as 10 toasters.

The LEDs are more than twice as bright as the previous bulbs and are capable of creating a palette of 16m colours.

The original ball was dropped down the flagpole at One Times Square in 1907.

Made of iron and wood, it was 5ft in diameter and lit with 100 25W light bulbs.

A fifth version of the ball, made from crystal, was created for the millennium celebration on New Year's Eve 1999.

The LEDs on the $1.1m (?550,000) New Year's Eve Ball that will descend on Monday will be able to create a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns on each of its 672 crystal triangular panels.

As well as being smaller and more energy efficient, the 9,576 lights will substantially increase the brightness to more than 625,000 lumens.

"I'm proud to be able to save energy and show off this technology to the world with such a special event," said Kaj den Daas, chairman of Philips Lighting, which made the LEDs.

Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, a business group in charge of the celebrations, said the new technology would "make the ball glow like nothing else".

" Times Square has always been an arena where the latest and greatest cutting-edge technology is unveiled and showcased," he added.

The new ball successfully descended the 77-foot (23.5m) flagpole during a test-run on Sunday afternoon and created spectacular bursts of colour.

More than a million revellers are expected to crowd into Times Square for the New Year's Eve countdown.

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