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Swan Song: Portable Universal Self-contained Heliostat


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To Whom It May Concern:

This is an open letter about an open source concept called PUSH, acronym for portable universal self-contained heliostat. 

A heliostat continuously reflects sunlight towards a fixed target by using a mechanism that moves a mirror to compensate for the Earth’s motion.

Several methods have been employed to automatically control the mirror’s movement.  The approach described here might simplify the task significantly.


PUSH configuration:

A flat 2-sided circular mirror, M, mounted on a 2-axis gimbal, rotates about the gimbal’s base axis, Ab, and cross axis, Ac.   

Ab passes through the center of M and the center of the gimbal base.  Ac passes through the center of M and is perpendicular to Ab.

The gimbal is affixed to the inside of a concentric transparent spheral shell.

Motors drive the motion of M, powered by solar energy and controlled by timers, light sensors and simple logic switches.

PUSH operation:

         Ab is manually pointed at the target.

When direct sunlight is present, the sequence below occurs automatically and repeats periodically.  

1. M rotates about Ab and stops when Ac is perpendicular to the Sun.

2. M then rotates about Ac, stopping when the reflected beam aligns with Ab.


Design details can vary, with safety and simplicity in mind.

Please consider passing this idea along, if you would be so kind.


Anonymous  2021

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