Solar Beacon on Sather Tower (the Campanile) from the Berkeley Marina. Photo: John Vallerga

Solar Beacon on Sather Tower (the Campanile) from the Berkeley Marina. Photo: John Vallerga

 Solar Beacon has moved to Sather Tower (the “Campanile”) on the U.C. Berkeley Campus.

(As of January 2016, we are no longer running Solar Beacon. We are preparing an upgrade to a new location. Details soon!)

Solar Beacon is an art installation now on top of the Sather Tower  that reflects the Sun’s light throughout the Bay Area  using the brightest natural light available. Observers of Solar Beacon will see  a point of light near the top of the Tower that is bright as the Sun, but much smaller in size. Through an online interface, the public can Schedule a time-based performance, during which the observed spot of light will appear to turn on and off. Because the reflected light is projected in a narrow beam a half degree across, the performance only appears to a region around the observer (e.g. 17m at 2 km), but it can be seen by anyone in the Bay Area who has  direct view of Sather Tower.

 Schedule an Appointment

One of the Solar Beacon mounts prior to installation on the bridge. Photo: Jason McPhate

Solar Beacon acts as a bridge between Sun and Observer, Sky and Earth, Natural and Man-Made.  In concept and design it has connected Artist and Scientist as well as Golden Gate Bridge Engineers and Aeronautical Engineers from the Space Sciences Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley. During the 75th Anniversary celebrations of the Golden Gate Bridge, two heliostats were installed on the Golden Gate Towers. They have now been moved to Sather Tower on the Berkeley campus, with one on the South side and one on the West side. This allows us to beam the light to a larger fraction of the Bay Area

Below is today’s schedule for locations you might see Solar Beacon. It includes standard locations as well as personally scheduled pointings. (Note, many northwestern locations, like the Golden Gate bridge and Mt. Tamalpais are not accessible early in the morning  when the Sun is in the East. At that time, Oakland and the South Bay are better). Send us feedback, positive or negative on the Feedback page.

Todays Schedule Click Here

To view events scheduled by users on a particular day, select the day and month here (now with a map of events!):

Additionally, at the start of each day we schedule events automatically if there are spare time slots. The link above (“Todays Schedule”) has the full schedule for today.


 Posted by at 8:25 PM