SCIENCE -- October 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM ET
Giant solar mirrors help Norwegian town see the light
When the winter months fall on the Norwegian town of Rjukan, its residents usually prepare themselves for living up to six months in shadow. Anyone who desiring a bit of direct sunlight in that time period would need to take a cable car to the top of a nearby mountain to get their fix.
Now, thanks to three giant mirrors on a nearby mountain, Rjukan can get its sun year round.
The three mirrors, called heliostats, cost the equivalent of over $800,000 and were installed less than a third of a mile above the town square by helicopter. The heliostats are controlled by computer and not only beam sunlight down to the town, but also capture solar energy which it uses to power its trajectory as it follows the sun across the winter sky.