Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Dark Skating Rink is no Fun


Last week there was a news story about a town in Norway using mirrors to get the sun's rays to light up a valley. The same method has been in practice in Italy for some years. 

I brought the experiment to our stars, Sapna and Sagar's lives in the present day. Even though the sister appears to be clueless about the 'whys' of the experiment, she wants to follow Sagar's experiment.


A Dark Skating Rink is No Fun

angle = a place where two lines meet
brilliant = very bright
paused = stopped 
reflect = throw back
echo =  repeat
bhaiya (Hindi) = brother

Six-year-old, Sapna sat in the 
kitchen, drawing a picture on a sheet of paper. She drew a huge sun, some trees of different shapes and a poodle sitting in the shade of a tree. She completed the picture by coloring the sun-bright yellow, trees-different shades of green and the poodle-black and brown. She admired the picture by holding it at a distance. She looked at it from different angles.

Magically, her picture seemed to come alive. The yellow sun threw brilliant, shining light back at her. It looked like a lighted spot, and it moved! From the sun the light paused at the tree and settled on the poodle. She did not believe in magic, she knew magic was either science or tricks.

Sapna turned around to find her ten-year-old brother, Sagar holding a square mirror near a sunny window. Every time he moved the mirror, the spot of light moved on her drawing.

"Bhaiya, stop it. You are bothering me." Sapna said.

"Look, Sapna, I am doing an experiment." Sagar said.

"What experi-ment?" Sapna said.

"Well, this morning in my science camp, the teacher told us about how a set of mirrors will make a town get light in the winter, near Oslo in Europe..."

Sapna interrupted Sagar, "I know Oslo, it's the capital of Norway. I know all the capitals in Europe and Asia."

"I know, we learned them together. Listen now, don't interrupt." Sagar said.


"At  this place near Oslo, they put up huge mirrors on a mountain top. Then they made the mirrors face the sun to reflect the sun's ray into the valley below. Now for the five dark winter months they will have light in the town square. The reflected light is like an echo of light. It starts at the sun, goes to the mirrors and ends up in the valley. Isn't that cool?"

"Yeah, that's cool. Will they move the mirrors from one spot to the other, the way you did?"

"Sure, they'll use solar and windmill power. They move the mirrors to copy the sun's movement." Sagar said.

"My teacher said the sun does not move, the earth moves." Sapna said.

"She's right. we move around the sun. But these mirrors will move to make the light move like the rising and the setting sun." Sagar said.

"Oh, I guess I get it." Sapna said.

"Also, you know, a dark skating rink is no fun, but now their skating rink in the town square will get light for children to skate all day, through all the cold months of winter."

"Oh, okay. Can I hold your mirror and make light-spots?"

"Yeah, yeah, and guess what, the people in Oslo are not the first ones to use mirrors to get reflections make light, people in Italy have been making light like this since the year 2006."

"Bhaiya, I said, can I hold your mirror and make light-spots?"

"Sure, here you go." Sagar gave the square mirror to his sister, "Keep tilting the mirror while it faces the sun, until you get the moving spot light into the room."

"Okay. Hey how did they get light before the mirrors?" Sapna asked as she tired to get a light-spot into the room.

"Well, the lived with electric lights and took cable cars over the mountains to take them out of the dark valley."

"I like cable cars. You get to see things from way up in the sky." Sapna said.

"Are you crazy? Skating is so much better, more fun. You go in the cable car and you have to get off, you can keep skating as long as you want."

"Bhaiya, that's what you say. I think cable cars are way better." Sapna stood by the window and tried to grab Sagar with the light-spot.

Sagar ran around the room as the spot followed him.

The End

© 2013, Meera Desai Shah

No comments:

Post a Comment