Norwegian town finally gets to see the sun

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After years of winter darkness, the 100-year-old idea of a sun-tracking mirror, Rjukan, the Norwegian town finally gets to see the sun.

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Six months of darkness

Rjukan is situated deep in the narrow Vestfjord Valley in Telemark. Due to the high mountains surrounding the valley, among them The Gaustadtoppen Mountain at 6 178 feet ( 1,883 meters) above sea level, there is no sunlight six months of the year (from September to March).

Sun-reflecting technology

This winter, the darkness will finally come to an end. The dark town has gone to desperate measures and installed three giant mirrors, of a total size of 538 square feet ( 50 square meters), to reflect the sun. The five million NOK invention will bring sunshine to an area of up to 6459 square feet ( 600 square meters).

The idea of a sun mirror was conceived in 1913 by Sam Eyde, who wanted to give his workers the opportunity to experience the sunlight during the winter. Eyde’s successors built a gondola up to the mountain. The Krossobane Cable Car was the first cable car in northern Europe. It was built in 1928 as a gift from Norsk Hydro to the townspeople so that they could get up high enough to see the sun during the winter. But it would take a hundred years before the sun mirror was completed.

The sun-tracking mirrors will capture the sunrays and direct them down to the center of Rjukan, Norway
The sun-tracking mirrors will capture the sunrays and direct them down to the center of Rjukan, Norway

Today’s technology has made it possible to realize Eyde’s original idea. A computer-driven heliostat, placed at the top of a steep mountain wall 1312 feet (400 meters) over the town, will capture the sunrays and direct them down to the center of Rjukan.

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The sun mirrors will be launched on Tuesday this week, exactly 100 years after the idea was first presented in the local newspaper.

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The official website for Rjukan visitrjukan.com

Source: Innovation Norway