Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory

Located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park is the observatory known as Griffith Observatory. From here, you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the southwest, and all the way to Downtown Los Angeles in the southeast. Tourists flock to the observatory to see the Hollywood Sign up close and check out the many exhibits covering topics like astronomy and other scientific disciplines. Donor Griffith J. Griffith inspired the building’s name. Since its opening in 1935, when the benefactor’s will stipulated it, the observatory has offered free admission. Since the observatory’s establishment in 1935, over 7 million individuals have had the opportunity to look through the 12-inch Zeiss refractor, making it the telescope with the most viewers.

Griffith J. Griffith gave the city of Los Angeles a donation of 3,015 acres of land in December 1896, including the area around the observatory. Griffith bequeathed money in his will to construct an observatory, exhibit hall, and planetarium on the property. In contrast to the common belief that observatories should be situated on isolated mountaintops and reserved to scientists, Griffith aimed to make astronomy accessible to the general population. Griffith designed the observatory down to the smallest detail. Walter Sydney Adams, the future director of Mount Wilson Observatory, and George Ellery Hale, the founder of the first astrophysical telescope in Los Angeles, CA, were consulted by him as he drew out the plans.

The Griffith Observatory welcomes visitors without charging an entrance fee. On weekdays, the Observatory’s planetarium shows run at a frequency of eight times per day, and on weekends, the frequency increases to 10. Shows in the planetarium cost a small entry fee. Every night the observatory is open, usually starting at 7:00 p.m., the public is welcome to come and use the telescopes for free, provided that the weather cooperates. Up to four portable telescopes can be set up outside, joining the historic 12 inch Zeiss Refracting Telescope on the roof, to provide views of the night sky and any celestial objects that can be seen through them. The Zeiss dome stops admitting visitors at 9:30 p.m., and the portable telescope lines outside cease accepting new customers at that time (or earlier on crowded nights). The Zeiss Telescope is open to the public as an exhibit during viewing hours even if the roof is closed due to bad weather or cloud cover.

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