For as long as anyone could remember, residents of two villages in Norway and Italy, both situated in deep valleys surrounded by mountains, lived without direct sunlight for about six months every year. But in the last decade, both villages decided to do something about it. The towns -- Rjukan in Norway and Viganella in Italy -- erected giant computer-directed mirrors in the mountains to track the Sun and direct daylight into the villages during the winter months.
Let there be light:
- Rjukan is a small industrial town 93 miles (150 km) west of Oslo. Three giant mirrors were placed on a nearby mountainside in 2013 to reflect winter sunlight into the valley.
- In the steep-sided Antrona Valley, the small Italian town of Viganella erected a large, remote-controlled mirror --actually a 26-foot (8 m) sheet of steel -- on a nearby peak in 2006. The mirror helps provide warmth and sunlight to the town’s 197 residents from November to February.
- The rest of the world also experiences loss of daylight during a solar eclipse, when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, totally or partly obscuring the Sun’s rays. The next solar eclipse will occur on 21 August 2017.