Inspired by windows reflecting light across the bay, Solar Beacon is an interactive art exhibit set atop the twin towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Computer controlled mirrors atop the towers can reflect a beam of light to almost anywhere in the Bay Area. Placed in celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th Anniversary, the installation is the product of collaboration between London based artist Liliane Lijn, Aeronautical Engineers from the Space Sciences Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley, and Golden Gate Bridge Engineers.
To activate the beacon, visitors to the Solar Beacon website specify a time for their show, a location, and a height above ground level. Computers at the Space Sciences Laboratory calculate the precise angle between the sun and the location, and send a control message to the top of the towers.
The mirrors rotate on command, reflecting a pleasant and twinkling light, far brighter than any artificial spotlight.
For a preview of the coverage area, you can visit a speical page on heywhatsthat.com.
To learn more about signaling long distance using lights, read up on the Scouting project Operation On Target, which aims each year to send messages from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, using mirrors alone.
The Golden Gate Bridge installation will be removed Sept. 30.