Huge Mirror System Sheds First-Ever Winter Sunlight on Norwegian Town

The Norwegian town of Rjukan will get direct winter sunlight for the first time this year thanks to a technology that was first suggested 100 years ago.

Rjukan rests in a deep valley totally surrounded by tall hills. But although the setting is picturesque, it also means that the town is shaded from direct sunlight for half the year. According to the Telegraph, residents craving natural light from September through March have had one option available since 1928: take a purpose-built cable car to a nearby mountaintop.

But this year, for the first time, they'll be able to bask in the rays from the comfort of the city limits thanks to giant sun-tracking mirrors. Three giant mirrors designed to track the sun have been installed on the hills surrounding the village. The mirrors, called heliostats, will move along with the sun to consistently direct a 6,500-square-foot ray of light onto the town square.

The idea has been in the works for a very long time. Rjukan's founder initially proposed sun-reflecting mirrors 100 years ago, but the technology to make them real didn't exist until recently. Time to break out the suntan lotion.

[image via Visit Rjukan]