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The Challenge: Make distilled water from seawater using solar power



How did we aim the mirror?

Once the mirror was made and the kettle fixed in place, we needed a device to keep the mirror pointed at the sun as it travelled across the sky. We made a mount for the mirror that had one axis pointing parallel to the axis of the rotation of the earth and the other set once to the position of the sun.

All we had to do was set up the mirror for the particular day and just turn the apparatus around the one axis for the contraption to follow and scan with the movement of the sun — this is called an equatorial mount. This allowed us to follow the sun and get the most energy and efficiency from the system.

Diagram showing the positioning of the parabolic mirror in relation to the sun and equatorial mount