Famous Hollywood Sights: Griffith Observatory

Famous Hollywood Sights: Griffith Observatory

Tinseltown Isn’t Just for Movie Stars

The Hollywood tours you take with Star Track Tours will take you in and around Hollywood as well as surrounding areas. All the while, standing guard over the city, perched on the aptly-named Mount Hollywood is the Griffith Observatory. The Griffith Observatory is an iconic observatory located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles, California. The observatory is named after Griffith J. Griffith, a Welsh-American philanthropist and amateur astronomer who donated the funds to build the facility in the early 20th century.

Construction on the Griffith Observatory began in 1933, and the building was officially opened to the public in 1935. The observatory is situated on a 3,015-foot hill and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding city, the Pacific Ocean, and the Hollywood Hills. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles, drawing over 1.5 million visitors each year.

Griffith Observatory on Mt. Holllywood

Griffith Observatory on Mt. Holllywood

The Griffith Observatory has a long and fascinating history, and its mission is to inspire curiosity about the cosmos and foster an understanding of science and astronomy. The observatory has several exhibits, displays, and programs that showcase the wonders of space and the universe.

One of the most impressive features of the Griffith Observatory is the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, which has a 290-seat theater that offers visitors a stunning visual experience of the night sky. The planetarium has a Zeiss star projector, which is capable of projecting over 9,000 stars and other celestial objects onto the dome-shaped screen. The planetarium also has a state-of-the-art digital projection system, which is used to show stunning visual presentations that simulate the universe.

Another popular attraction at the Griffith Observatory is the Foucault pendulum, which demonstrates the rotation of the Earth. The pendulum is a massive metal ball that swings back and forth, and as the Earth rotates underneath it, the pendulum’s path appears to shift. This exhibit is a fascinating way to observe one of the fundamental principles of astronomy in action.

The observatory also has a range of telescopes, including the Zeiss refracting telescope, which is one of the largest public telescopes in the world. Visitors can use the telescope to observe the moon, planets, and other celestial objects in the night sky. The observatory also has a solar telescope, which is used to observe the sun and sunspots.

In addition to its exhibits and telescopes, the Griffith Observatory hosts a range of programs and events throughout the year. The observatory offers regular public telescope viewing sessions, where visitors can observe the night sky with the help of knowledgeable staff members. The observatory also hosts lectures, workshops, and other events that focus on topics related to astronomy and space science.

The Griffith Observatory has played a significant role in astronomy research and education since its inception. During World War II, the observatory was used to help track satellites and other objects in space. In the 1960s, the observatory played a key role in the development of the Apollo program, which sent the first humans to the moon. Today, the observatory continues to be an important center for astronomy education and research, and it collaborates with scientists and educators around the world.

In recent years, the Griffith Observatory has undergone a significant renovation and expansion. The renovation included the installation of new exhibits and displays, as well as the addition of a new terrace that offers panoramic views of Los Angeles. The observatory also added a new exhibit on the life and work of Griffith J. Griffith, the philanthropist who funded its construction.

The Griffith Observatory has become an important cultural and educational institution in Los Angeles, and it continues to inspire and educate visitors from around the world. Its iconic architecture, stunning views, and fascinating exhibits make it a must-see destination for anyone interested in astronomy, space science, or just the wonders of the universe.


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