Remote Skylights are optical systems capable of providing natural light to unlit locations. An arrangement of parabolic reflectors and optical fiber cables, transport natural sunlight to areas that would otherwise be dark or be lit artificially.
Remote skylights are composed chiefly of a solar collection dish, a "heliotube" and a distribution dish. The collection and distribution dishes are both parabolic reflectors. The collection dish is connected to a mechanism which tracks the transit of the sun across the sky, so as to maximise the intensity of light falling upon it. The heliotube is a bundle of optical fibres that channel the collected sunlight from the collection dish to the distribution dish. Unlike a typical skylight, the heliotube means that the two dishes do not need to be adjacent to one another.
Remote Skylights provide two key advantages over artificial illumination:
- The transported light contains the frequencies necessary for photosynthesis. (Though it is reported that harmful UV rays are filtered out.)
- No power is required to sustain the illumination. This means that (after construction) no harmful greenhouse gases are produced.
- "Remote Skylights". The Lowline. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- O'Rourke, Meghan. "The Lowline: A Proposed Underground Park in Manhattan". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-10-12.