Sunday, October 18, 2009

Free in LA – Griffith Observatory

Griffith Park is a massive (over 4200 acre) municipal park in Los Angeles. One part of this park, the part we visited on September 26, 2009, was the Griffith Observatory. This Observatory is in Hollywood, directly below the Hollywood letters in the Santa Montica Mountains. Joy and I were intending to visit the Observatory earlier but put it off so that we could be there for the “Public Star Party” (more on that later).

Inside the top floor of the observatory, there are a ton of exhibits describing many different aspects of astronomy, other fields of science, and even has a live telescope looking at the sun that you can look through. Above is Joy standing in front of an exhibit of the periodic table with an example of each element in as many of the places as possible. The noble gases are visible under a microscope and prism so that you can see the color spectrum of each gas.

From the balcony in the rear of the building you get a good view of downtown Los Angeles. I’ve got this same view at night later in this blog.

Directly over Joy’s and my shoulder you can see the famous Hollywood letters.

From the roof of the building you can see the courtyard of the observatory.

On the bottom floor there is a cafe, a gift store and more displays. Here is me sitting with a bronze sculpture of Albert Einstein.

This is dusk as seen from the Griffith Observatory looking over the Santa Montica Mountains.

Every month, on a Saturday night, Griffth Observatory hosts the “Public Star Party.” This is where amateur astrologist set up their telescopes on the front lawn of the Observatory and the public can come and look through the telescopes and talk to the astrologists. The picture above is while they are setting up. While there, we got a really good look at Jupiter, three of its moons, and our moon. As an extra treat, the International Space Station flew by while we were talking to one of the astrologist there and we got to see it.

Here is the picture from above, taken at night.

I think Joy is ready for my to put my camera up and go home.

This final shot is a long exposure shot shot overlooking Hollywood and Beverly Hills with downtown LA visible to the left of the shot.

Even without the Public Star Party, the Observatory is a cool place to visit in LA. Parking is free but expect to walk a while if it is crowded. There is also a LADOT shuttle that will bring you up from Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station for only 25 cents. The exhibits are interesting but there aren’t that many overall so don’t expect to be able to spend a long time here and many exhibits are interactive which is sure to entertain the kids. Overall, its a cool place to stop in if you happen to be in the area.

P.S. While there Joy found a couple CREEPpl. Check them out at

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