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

  • Ulet Ifansasti / Getty

    Fires in Indonesia Blanket Islands and Cities in Smog

    Thick clouds of smoke and haze are blanketing much of Southeast Asia, due to largely illegal efforts to burn thousands of acres to clear land for farms and palm-oil plantations.

  • Smithsonian Institution

    Photos of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair

    In April 1904, St. Louis opened its doors to the world, welcoming millions to see the fascinating buildings and exhibits of art, technology, and history on display at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

  • Randall Hill / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Baobab Alley, Armed Mob, River Rescue

    A beard-and-mustache battle in Los Angeles, a sleepy young rhino in France, a shepherd among Turkish foothills, the Corso Zundert flower parade in the Netherlands, the “Futurium” in Berlin, and much more

  • Scott Olson / Getty

    Photos: The Wreckage Left by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas

    Early images of the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Dorian’s slow crawl across the Bahamas