Using Giant Mirrors to Light up Dark Valleys

The villages of Rjukan, Norway, and Viganella, Italy, are both situated in deep valleys where mountains block the sun's rays for up to six months every year. To illuminate those darker winter months, the two towns have built gigantic mirrors that track the sun and reflect daylight downwards. Viganella completed its huge computer-controlled mirror in 2006, and Rjukan followed suit just this month, mounting a mirror that will reflect a 600 square meter (6,500 square foot) beam of sunshine into the town square below.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Christian Palma / AP

    Hopeful Images From 2019

    I’ve made it an annual tradition to compose an essay of uplifting images from the past year—an effort to seek out and recognize some of the abundant joy and kindness present in the world around us.

  • Ng Han Guan / AP

    2019 in Photos: Wrapping Up the Year

    Time to take a look at some of the most memorable events and images of 2019. Events covered in this essay include protests in Hong Kong, Chile, and Iraq; a toxic sky over New Delhi; an all-female team of spacewalkers; and much more.

  • Cadet Hallie H. Pound / U.S. Army via AP

    2019 in Photos: A Look at the Middle Months

    Time to take a look at some of the most memorable events and images of 2019. Events covered in this essay include the Pan American Games in Peru, a spelling bee with eight co-champions, the testimony of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill, and much more.

  • Joyce N. Boghosian / The White House

    2019 in Photos: How the First Months Unfolded

    Time to take a look at some of the most memorable events and images of 2019. Events covered in this essay include the abdication of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, a performance by Lil Nas X, a landing on the far side of the moon, and much more.