Once a month, iconic Griffith Observatory
hosts a free outdoor party that will have you seeing stars—literally! Amateur astronomers set up their own telescopes across the lawn in the early afternoon and stick around until 9:45 p.m. to help the curious spot anything from Saturn to the star Vega and other celestial wonders. The observatory also opens up its two massive scopes, the Zeiss and the coelostat, mounted in the building’s copper domes. During the day, three solar telescopes focus beams of sunlight into the coelostat to give real-time views of solar flares. Queue up at Zeiss, sometimes called the Old Man, and peer through its 12-inch refracting lens to see the surface of the moon. When you’ve had your fill of spying on the sky, head to the roof for 360-degree views of the city below. From up there you’ll feel closer to the stars than to the lights of Sunset Boulevard. That’s some serious star power.
TIP: Arrive early to hike a 3-mile out-and-back on the Hollyridge Trail for glimpses of the iconic Hollywood Sign. Start at the observatory parking lot.
The next Griffith Observatory star party is this Saturday, August 6. All 2011 dates are on Griffith Observatory’s website. To get there, turn off Los Feliz Blvd. onto Fern Dell Dr. or N. Vermont Ave. and follow the road up into Griffith Park. Arrive early to park near the observatory or prepare for a long trek up winding park roads. Bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car. Dog-friendly (except inside the building).