Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives. – Socrates
The Griffith Observatory is a stronghold of space, a command center of the cosmos. And every night up to 600 people filter through its hallowed halls to peer through the original telescope installed on the roof of the observatory in 1935. Planets, moons, comets, and other celestial bodies have all been objects of attention from this regal collection of tubes, mirrors, and lenses perched atop the classic art-deco structure.
But visitors don’t come just for the telescopes – Griffith is open to visitors morning, noon, and night, creating an immersive space experience, no matter the viewing conditions.
The Griffith Observatory is an entire museum devoted to the study of space science. It is anchored by a swinging pendulum flanked by two individual exhibition halls: the Hall of the Sky, and the Hall of the Eye. The former focuses on space topics such as eclipses and the phases of the moon, while the latter educates visitors on the process of observing and the tools created to assist the human eye in viewing the outer reaches of space.
Ever wondered how much you weigh on Mercury?
The Griffith Observatory’s ‘Planets’ exhibit gives visitors a closer look at each of the planets in our solar system, including a scale demonstrating how much you would weigh on each respective planet’s surface. With a gravitational pull approximately equivalent to 1/3 that of the earth, the Mercury scale provides a refreshing view of a weight many of haven’t seen since our childhood. On the flip side, stepping on the Jupiter scale can be a rather humbling experience.
One of the primary draws of the Griffith Observatory is not within its halls. Instead, it can be found on the outside balconies where the building hangs perilously over the cliffs below. It is from here that one of the best views of the city of Los Angeles is found.
LA is a sprawling megalopolis, from ocean to inland, hills to vallies. With so many drastically diverse environments in the city itself, it’s impossible to put together one image that best represents the city. But for me, the view from Griffith Observatory does it the most justice.
The downtown skyline, the hollywood sign, and the ocean can all be seen from this vantage point, with a delicate layer of smog draped overtop of each. The view from high above helps to make some sense of the vast urban network that is Los Angeles. While the view is spectacular anytime of day, sunset is a favorite time for many to visit.