The next time you drive by power lines in CNY, look up. Do you notice the red balls - they look about the size of basketballs - on the lines? Ever wonder what those are for?

While they don't get a lot of attention from most of us - unless they stop working - power lines are an important part of our lives. They run down our streets, through fields, and over valleys. Sometimes - like the lines in Annsville in the pictures -  they appear to be decorated with basketballs, strung every so often along the length of wire. But why?

It turns out, the balls are an important safety feature, meant to protect aircraft from striking the lines. 

Credit: Glenn Hopsicker
Credit: Glenn Hopsicker

According to, the balls appear near small country airports to protect aircraft Sometimes, you may find them near hospitals that provide air transportation for their patients - the balls will help guide helicopters as they land or ascend from the landing pad.

If the power lines cross a major highway or a valley, you'll also find the markers there - for the same reason.

So next time you see a power line, and it has a red ball on it - you'll know why. 

Is there something else you've wondered about? Let us know, and we'll try and find the answer.

BONUS VIDEO (in case you want a little more science):


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