When I was little, I remember driving in the car with my grandfather near Frog Island in Stillwater. Over the Hudson River near the railroad bridge are power lines that stretch across to the other side of the river. Every few feet there are giant red balls on the power lines. When I asked my grandfather what those balls were for he said that when the water rises from the river and reaches the power lines, they are able to float. I was young so I believed him.

When I was a bit older, I thought the balls were on the power lines so if they came down over the river, they would prevent the wires from going into the river and make the lines float. I went with that idea until I finally looked it up. Now at forty-eight years old, I have figured out why they are really there.

According to sciencing.com, they are actually used for airplane pilots. It sounds crazy but it makes a lot of sense. You usually see bright red balls on power lines every few feet in open fields and for low flying planes. They help pilots identify power lines for them to stay clear of. You may also see them on power lines that are over rivers, canyons, or ravines. They are used here for the same reason because the power lines are hard to see over these locations.

I guess my grandfather was just trying to tell me a story and he didn't actually know why they were up there. Well now we all know and the mystery has been solved.

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