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Burning Man satellite images show what the festival looks like from space

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Black Rock City rises in mere days

Aerial images of the center camp at Burning Man, between August 7 and August 26, 2019.
Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies

Starting in 1986, San Franciscan Larry Harvey used scrap lumber to build an eight-foot tall sculpture of a man. He, along with his friend Jerry James, soaked the effigy in gasoline and burned it at Baker Beach for summer solstice. And just like that, Burning Man was born.

Roughly 35 watched the man burn that night. More than 30 years later, after moving from the beach to the desert, the annual festival remains one of the most popular destination parties, beloved by a fervent fanbase.

More than 70,000 people went to Burning Man in 2018, according to the Black Rock City census project. And the entire festival, happening from August 25 to September 2 this year, appears and disappears in just a few days. Impressive on land, as evidenced in these images, it’s also pretty cool from space.

These satellite photos taken by Maxar Technologies GeoEye show what’s going on from high above, detailing how the pop-up city of RVs, art cars, statues, and jaw-dropping architecture forms in mere days. They also show the long lines of cars and people waiting to get to the fete in the Nevada desert.


This gif is a composite of four images laid over each other, showing the succession of Burning Man in a few days, starting off with a near-empty desert and growing with people, RV, and more in just a few days.
Aerial images of Burning Man between August 7 and August 26, 2019.
Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies
Aerial shot of the Nevada desert with a ten-lane winding row of cars waiting to get into the festival.
Cars waiting to get into Burning Man.
Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies
Aerial shot of Burning Man, with art cars and RVs, as well as a long snaking line of people waiting in line for something.
Note the long line of people in the lower section of the image.
Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies