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Mirror, mirror, warm me up

A small town in Austria is resorting to giant mirrors and reflectors to capture sunlight during the darkest winter ...


A small town in Austria is resorting to giant mirrors and reflectors to capture sunlight during the darkest winter months.
Rattenburg is in the Austrial Tyrol, around 40 kilometres east of Innsbruck. It sits so deep in a mountain valley that the sun’s rays cannot reach it between November and February.
Now a company, Bartenbach Lichtlabor, is to install 30 heliostats — rotating mirrors — on a nearby hill that will take sunlight from reflectors in a neighbouring village and beam the light onto 12 “hot spots” in Rattenburg.
The town, population 440, was settled during the 1300s deep in the valley as the steep mountain walls and river nearby gave protection against marauders. Now the biggest problem is a declining population as people who can’t take the dark, dank days leave for brighter spots.