Created as part of the Soviet-initiated "Sun" research complex in Uzbekistan, this gigantic solar parabola reflects energy from the sun and focuses it into a light beam that can blast out temperatures up to 3,000° C. While the facility's operations are largely confidential, photographers Nikolay Rykov and Dmitry Chistoprudov recently found their way in to give us a glimpse of the futuristic furnace.
A solar furnace is a structure, generally built for industrial purposes, that uses concentrated solar energy to produce temperatures that can melt metal. The Sun solar oven in Parkent, Uzbekistan resembles an Aztec temple kitted out like a disco ball. The furnace’s curved mirror measures more than 175 feet up and across and directs solar power into a beam with a diameter of about four feet.
Sixty-three flat mirrors (each as tall as a two-story house) are controlled to track and focus the thermal energy from the sun into the center of the parabolic pagoda. There are more than 10,700 mirror tiles in all that reflect and regulate heat.
The academic S.A. Asimov made a significant contribution to the complex, which reaches roughly 3,600 feet at its highest point. The facility comprises four subdivisions, including the main building, the mirror field, the concentrator, and the manufacturing tower.