30 Oct 2013

Here comes the sun: giant mirrors to combat town’s darkness

Residents of a small valley in Norway will enjoy a brighter winter thanks to giant mirrors installed above the town to reflect sunlight into their lives.

The Norwegian town of Rjukan is tucked between steep mountains and is normally shrouded in shadow for almost six months of the year.

However, on Wednesday, rays from the winter sun have reached the market square for the first time at this time of year – thanks to three 183-square-foot mirrors.

Cheering families gathered drinking cocktails and waving Norwegian flags as the sun hit the mirrors and reflected down on to the faces of delighted villagers below.

The plan to illuminate Rjukan was cooked up 100 years ago by the Norwegian industrialist Sam Eyde, who built the town to provide workers for a hydroelectric plant.

The idea was reborn in 2005 with the help of local Martin Andersen who obtained funding of over half a million pounds to install computer controlled mirrors that track the sun’s movement over the horizon.