The sun went out in Viganella, a small town nestled in the Alps, in the Italian region of Piedmont. In reality, what has been broken is an artificial sun, a mirror that reflected the star, placed to provide light in the three winter months in which the town is left in darkness due to the shadow of the mountains.
Its nearly 300 inhabitants celebrated the traditional Candelaria festival with even more joy, on February 4, when the sun appears again in the Ossola Valley, after the 83 days in which they have not been able to count on the artificial sun created by the stroke of genius of Pier Franco Midalimayor of the town between 1990 and 2000.
In 1999, Midali had the idea of placing a mirror on the mountain to recreate the sun between November 11 and February 2, when the town is left without electricity, and It took seven years to make that idea a reality that seemed crazy or too ambitious to many.
No one in Italy had ever built a mirror of this type and Midali spent some time looking for a technician willing to embark on the venture. He finally found the engineer Emilio Barlocco, who had already designed software for the movement of mirrors synchronized with the sun to illuminate the entrance to the tunnels of the Turin-Savona highway.
The sun went out in Viganella, a small town nestled in the Alps, in the Italian region of Piedmont. Photo EFE
The mirror weighs 11 tons and has a reflection surface of 40 square meters and settled on the slope of one of the mountains that surround Viganella.
Using a computer system, the mechanism rotates daily, so that it reflects sunlight with an intensity of 70 percent onto the Viganella square, thus bringing the Alpine town out of the darkness.
Midali explains to EFE that the mirror has stopped working and the City Council's version “is that there was an atmospheric discharge and probably lightning must have burned and altered some electronic components that “Now they should be replaced”but at the moment it has not been done.
The giant solar mirror to bring light to the town of Viganella.
“Viganella's artificial sun did not work and it is a shame,” says the former mayor, indicating that the mirror is not only “useful during the winter period, because it brings the sun to the church squarebut also during the summer for tourists because it is possible to control it from the town square with the computer and it is even possible to turn it on.
“Tourists leave satisfied because they see the unnatural phenomenon of having two suns in the sky, which is a very strange fact, and also beautiful, so it is a tourist and promotional attraction for the area. That is why we must make sure we solve it properly.” immediately, as soon as possible.”
Midani assures that his revolutionary idea helps, above all, the oldest people in the town, “because it is logical that someone who can move takes a walk through the forest or takes a car to places where there is sun, but older people who They don't move all winter, They have the opportunity to see it.”
What has been broken is an artificial sun, a mirror that reflected the star, placed to give light in the three winter months. Photo EFE
“Although it is not a warming sun, psychologically it is an advantage for the mood to see the sun even during the winter period,” he says.
It was a girl from Huelva, in Spain, Alba Fontenla Martín, a student at the Adersa II Rural Public School, in Cortelazor, the one in charge of pressing the button that turned on the giant mirrorsince the Andalusian city is twinned with Viganella and participated in the event.
It made headlines in all the media around the world and a delegation from the Norwegian city of Rjukan even came to town to copy the idea and finally installed three and, with the sun out, the residents fear that everyone will forget about Viganella.