It’s official. Black Rock Observatory has a Theme Camp at Burning Man this year, with presentations, science experiments, and a ton of awesome people to entertain you. We have been placed at 4:45 and Gort, and Black Rock Observatory (the dome and scopes) has been placed nearby. Don’t come looking for us out in Deep Playa anymore. It’s darker in the city!
Our Kickstarter campaign is live! Please donate here, or at least watch the video and leave a comment. http://kck.st/2NKe4e7
The theme camp will be open to the public pretty much anytime, with activities scheduled throughout the day and into the wee hours starting at 1:00 PM daily.
Tuesday Night is Kids’ Night, with special presentations and activities sure to delight the inquiring mind. Kids always go to the front of the line, even if it’s not Kids’ Night.
Here’s a link to a list of the presentations we have lined up so far:
For the most up-to-date and complete schedule, go to Black Rock Observatory Playa Events
Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe
|We expected the attractive force of gravity to slow down the rate at which the Universe is expanding. But observations of very distant exploding stars (supernovae) show that the expansion rate is actually speeding up, a Nobel-worthy discovery. Over the largest distances, the Universe seems to be dominated by a mysterious, repulsive “dark energy” that stretches space itself faster and faster.|
Astronomy Q&A and General Discussion
|Do you have questions about astronomy and various exciting recent discoveries such as exploding stars, black holes, the detection of gravitational waves, the discovery of thousands of exoplanets orbiting other stars, or anything else in the cosmos? Come to this Q&A session and general discussion with Alex Filippenko!||The Monster in the Math
||Black holes are literal horizons to the universe, and in their strangeness they also exist far outside the horizon of human intuition. Although black holes haunted the mathematics of gravitational theory for centuries before their discovery, few believed that such bizarreness could exist in reality. The fact of their existence (in countless multitudes!) demonstrates that the mathematics of physical theory can be more trustworthy than intuition.
Matt O’Dowd (astrophysicist and host of PBS Space Time) tells the tale of the black hole, and explores our incredible ability (through science) to discover aspects of reality utterly beyond observation or intuition.
A traveler’s guide to Mars
|Eldar Noe is a planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. He is an expert on the history and composition of Mars, and is a member of the Mars exploration Rover, Mars Science Laboratory, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter teams.|
|Light Sail 2||Light Sail 2 is a solar sail spacecraft being launched by The Planetary Society in late 2018. Learn about what solar sails are, how they work, and how they can revolutionize the future of solar system exploration.|
|Questions from the Void||Ilya Barannikov of “In Case We Miss Each Other” and Founder of Soul Oceans presents a talk on the history, ethics and implications of alien contact.|
|When Galaxies Collide||Doc Reitzel tells, through images and simulations, how the Milky Way will merge with Andromeda. Will Earth survive? Find out, lest you worry all week!|
|Complex Patterns of the Universe||Tomas Hdz, Ph.D takes us on a brief tour of the complex patterns unfolding throughout the universe that extract order out of chaos.|
|Kids Night: Story Telling||Kids will adore this reading of three books, performed by Lara Matossian, Founder of SciFest Dubai. And it’s Kids Night at the Observatory|
|Kids Night: Constellation Mythology from Other Cultures||Becca Priddy, science and robotics teacher from Portland, will be telling tales of constellations from other cultures from every part of the globe.|
|Cosmic Rays||What the hell is a cosmic ray? Learn the origin and history of the fastest objects in the universe and how to build a cloud chamber to see them!|
|Both kinds of Relativity||Anna Schooneveld, Masters Candidate at Cambridge University, willl discuss both kinds of relativity.|
|We Are The Cosmos Thinking About Itself||Rohan Roberts, director and lead astonomer at SciFest Dubai: A philosophical astronomy talk on how we are not only in this universe, but it is in us.|
|Take a long, Deep Breath||With every exhale, the entire universe contracts, collapsing one’s lungs and pressing upon every cell. From our atmosphere to our solar system and into our galaxy and beyond, every time we breathe out, the entire universe is affected. The weight of this realization is lifted when one takes a long, deep breath in|
|The Pale Blue Dot||Rohan Roberts, directorof SciFest Dubai:
An overview of the scales of the cosmos with analogies to help us understand how big the universe actually is
|Almost All Space Considered||Doc brings you a playa version of the namesake space news show. Get space news, disaster reports, and cute kittens if things get too depressing.|
|Mysteries of the Universe||Rohan Roberts, director and lead astonomer at SciFest Dubai:
An overview of some of the things we don’t fully understand about the Universe
|Life in the Ecliptic||Dr. Steve Vance, astrobiologist, will describe the quest to understand oceans in the solar system, including their potential for hosting life.|
|Constellation Mythology||Our modern constellations are named after Greek Mythology. Come listen as Shade recounts stories that have enchanted humanity for 4000 years.|
|Astro-Jeopardy-o-doom||Do you hate standing in line as much as Black Rock Observatory’s “Doc” Reitzel? Instead of standing in line, come try your luck at Astro-Jeopardy-o-doom! Risk nothing, show off smarts and win. Play Meteorite or Meteor-wrong with us, identify constellations, and answer astronomy quiz questions for fame, glory, and the most amazing prizes imaginable. Will you win your way to stardom? Join us and find out!|
|Meteriorites Can Get you Killed, Laid or Rich||‘Major Tom’ Varden, telescope operator and founder of Black Rock Observatory will explain how meteorites can kill you, get you laid or make you rich. Hold real 4.5 billion year old meteorites.|
|Mars Sucks||Mars usually sucks in a telescope. This year it doesn’t. Life on Mars, why its our next step and how you could actually end up there. Mars is the new frontier, come see it through our giant scope.|
Mark your calendars, get your tent packed up and let’s all get ready for another great burn!
Check here periodically before and after the burn for all your BRO updates. Stay tuned, stargazers!