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Solspeilet reflects the sun down on Rjukan during the winter season

Every year the Rjukan-villagers celebrate the return of the sun. During the winter season, they rarely get any, since the sun is too low for it to shine into the valley. Instead the sun mirrors from Solspeilet reflects rays onto the city square.

Vestfjorddalen, the valley of Rjukan stretches from east to west and is surrounded by steep mountain sides, the mountain plateau and the majestic Gaustatoppen. During winter, this prevents the  sun from reaching down into the valley. Every year, when the sun rays come back it is celebrated with a big sun-celebration on the Rjukan city square.

 

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The town of Rjukan, 3400 inhabitants, was founded between 1905 and 1916 and is located in a narrow valley 3 hours north-west from Oslo. During the winter months, from September to March, the village is completely in the shade, as the sun, covered by the 1800 meters high peak Gaustatoppen, can't illuminate it. In 2013, a local artist named Martin Andersen, submitted to the community the intention to put on the top of the mountain three huge solar-powered mirrors able to reflect the sun light on the town square. #natgeo #nationalgeographic #naturephotography #reportage #documentary #documentaryphotography #dji #dronestagram #photostory #sun #light #lensculture #innovation #science #people #featureshoot #norway #landscapephotography #landscapes #curiosity

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A 100-year-old history

Already 1913 the bookshop-owner Oscar Kittelsen launched the idé of a “Solspeil på Rjukan” – mirrors reflecting sun down into the valley.  It was during the days when Norsk Hydro built its power stations and wanted their employees to get sunlight during the winter. The lack of technical solution put a halt to the idea, instead the gondola lift Krossebanen was built – to easily get the Rjukan-inhabitants up on the mountain.

The Solspeilet becomes reality – celebrates with a sun party

Not until 100 years later Solspeilet became a reality. This time as an initiative from Martin Andersen. The 30 October 2013 the three huge mirrors were presented on the mountain side, 742 meters above sea level.

 

 

How does it work?

The three mirrors, called heliostats, are mounted on on the mountain edge north of Rjukan city square. The three heliostats are computer-controlled and follow the sun’s movement across the sky while reflecting the sun rays down on Rjukan. Solspeilet runs on renewable energy from sun and wind accumulated in batteries.

Do want take a closer look at Solspeilet?

Now it’s possible to go to Solspeilet by foot. Follow the signs to Haddelandstien and head up the slope. It is a demanding but very beautiful walk. Once you’re up you have an amazing view of Gaustatoppen and down on Rjukan city centre. The trail is clearly marked and the altitude difference is a full 413 meters during the 1,5 km walk. If you want to walk a round you can continue west to Gvepseborg and take the Krossobanen gondola back down.

 

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