So, yesterday, I was using Stumble Upon for the first time in quite awhile (if you've never used Stumble Upon, you're missing out on one of the coolest 'net-surfing experiences evar). I was perusing videos, and got a few very cool science and astronomy ones. This made me start thinking of the last time I went to Burning Man, back in 2004.
I was pretty burnt out (pun intended) on Burning Man by then, what with 2004 being the 8th year in a row that I had attended. I did not have much fun, for various reasons, and vowed I would not be returning (and thus far, I have not). But there was one stand-out, flat out awesome experience I had while there.
Some folks had seen fit to build a dome waaaaay out on the playa to server as a planetarium that they named Bok Globule, and every night they would give presentations using a software package called Digital Universe that was created by Hayden Planetarium. (In theory, one can download it for free from their site here, but it's been giving me a "service temporarily unavailable" error since yesterday). The presentations were given by one Carter Emmart (warning: super-long YouTube video), who is "Director of Astrovisualization" for the Rose Center for Earth and Space.
Now, I had an interest in astronomy when I was a kid, but it really fell to the background as I got older. These presentations way out in the desert were awesome. I saw it one night, and it truly blew me away. It gave you a feeling for how amazingly huge and awesome the universe is. Sometimes, things like that can leave you feeling really insignificant, but this one left me feeling full of hope, with a sense of how important it is for us to care for the one Earth we've been given.
Watching the cool science and astronomy videos via Stumble got me thinking about the planetarium, and I did some Google searching and found the site of a guy named Don Davis who worked on the planetarium. I have always hoped there was some kind of recording or more permanent presentation made by these folks, so I shot Mr. Davis an e-mail to ask him if he knew of one. Mr. Davis was nice enough to respond in a very short time and let me know that unfortunately I was out of luck on that count. I thanked him anyway, and tried to let him know how much the work of their group meant to me.
I wish I could find something I could watch at home that would be as inspiring as that awesome show I saw in the desert, but I've found nothing. I've watched things like the IMAX movie Cosmic Voyage (which was kinda cool), but there isn't anything that matches up in my mind to Bok Globule. I guess my memory will have to do.
6 months ago