So, it's the international year of astronomy (IYA) this year - 400 years since Galileo pointed his telescope skywards. I am a professional astrophysicist, with a little knowledge of the visible sky, and I was thinking of getting like minded people together to do some kind of IYA activities at the burn. If you are interested in participating in brainstorming, write back! Here are a couple ideas:
star parties: the most obvious, of course, would just be to gather in the deep playa and have a star party or two. I have given laser-pointer guider tours before at the burn, and they turn out very nicely. The Milky Way, Andromeda, the moon, the pleides, etc.
Galileo scope: there are some very cheap 'build-your-own' telescopes being made for IYA09. I thinkt hey are 15 bucks apiece, and can look at a lot of nice night sky objects. We could build them and then make them.
plane crossing: a weird fact - the plane crossing of saturn's rings is friday at the burn. I am not sure what one can do with that, but there it is.
full moon: it's full moon at the burn as well - upside: nice moon to look at - downside: more light pollution.
sun spotter: we could do some kind of daytime sunspotter activities? Build a super-big sun-spotter? We aren't yet at maximum, but I there should be some sunspots, and, if we are lucky, prominences.
Anyway, contribute your ideas. Perhaps we will coalesce around something.