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.
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).
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.
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.
The sun mirrors will be launched on Tuesday this week, exactly 100 years after the idea was first presented in the local newspaper.
The official website for Rjukan visitrjukan.com
Source: Innovation Norway