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Heliostatic Mirrors will finally Brighten a Faint Norwegian Town

Rjukan, a Norwegian town named after and powered by a massive waterfall called Rjukanfossen, is now utilizing another renewable resource to instead fuel the happiness of its townspeople.

The shielded valley town is pinched between surrounding mountains that block the sun out for half of the year. In 1928, two decades after the industrial town was established, the founding hydro company Norsk Hydro gifted two cable cars called Krossobanen to shuttle sun-starved citizens 483 meters above the town into the light.

Nearly a century later in July 2013, the town has brought the sun down to them instead using three mirrors, each with an area of 17 square meters. To make sure the daily sun will always be in view, the mirrors have been placed 450 meters above the town. The mirrors are part of a heliostat device, which includes computers and sensors that track the sun’s movement through the sky. The computers constantly adjust the mirrors to make sure the same area will always be the recipient of the captured rays.

The resulting reflection with bathe the town square in a massive elliptical spotlight that measures 180 square meters. The mirrors will efficiently reflect 80-100% of the light that falls onto them. While the project was recently completed, it won’t be until September when the town will really get to test out its new natural flashlight amidst the winter darkness.

Keara Wright

Aspiring creative author and astrophysicist, with degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Psychology.

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