The Norwegian town of Rjukan is shrouded in darkness for five months every year, but a project completed this month promises to bring a bright spot to the town's central square via a series of massive mirrors that will reflect sunlight onto the meeting spot.
Rjukan, which is located about halfway between Bergen and Oslo and is encircled by sun-obstructing mountains, is a dreary place to be between September and March, when the sun's rays cannot reach its quaint streets.
But the effort, dubbed the "Mirror Project," will ensure that Rjukan residents have a place to bask even on the darkest days of the frigid Scandinavian winters.
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"The aim of this project is to illuminate the town square of Rjukan with reflected sunlight. Rjukan is a town surrounded by mountains that prevent the sun from reaching the floor of the valley for five months of the year," an online description of the plan states. "The project will result in a permanent installation which, with the help of 100 [square-meter] mirror[s], will redirect the sun down into the valley. The square will become a sunny meeting place in a town otherwise in shadow."
The 538-foot mirrors, which were installed in July with the help of helicopters, have yet to be tested, but when the sun recedes behind the mountains this September for its long break, the town's residents and science-lovers around the world will be watching to see if they can really keep the town from its typical winter gloom.
The mirror plan was originally conceived by a Norwegian industrialist almost 100 years ago, but the lengthy wait has not dampened enthusiasm about the project's completion.