Last Saturday, some of my friends and I hiked up to the Griffith Observatory. We didn’t explore inside at all and even though I’ve been in the building multiple times in the past few years, I wanted to go back eventually. That chance actually materialized yesterday, when Harold, Rona, and I went to the observatory on its last open Tuesday of the summer.
Usually, I wind up having to parallel park on the edge of the road, but this time, we got lucky and I parked on the lot near the building. We didn’t have too much trouble getting to the Griffith Observatory, even though there was a show playing at the Greek Theatre that also provided quite a bit of traffic, but it wasn’t as bad as how it usually gets on the evenings of weekends. One of the first things we did once we got to the grounds was look through the telescope at a star cluster in the sky and the clouds that were making them look even more obscure.
The three of us decided to watch the planetarium show so we bought our tickets and explored one of the wings before lining up for the presentation. The only planetarium show I had ever watched before was “Centered in the Universe”, the show that opened when the Griffith Observatory completed its four-year long renovations in 2006. Every time I had gone to the observatory, it was the only show left as the others play earlier in the day. This time, they had a new show available called “Time’s Up” that was the last show of the night and the only one we actually would have been able to see anyway because we arrived two hours before closing. It covered the apocalyptic threats of the end of the world based on the Mayan calendar and looked at time and space in relation to the universe. Definitely stunning and thought-provoking. I felt so insignificant after watching.
We only had an hour left before the Griffith Observatory closed, so we spent most of the time in the bottom level that focuses on our solar system. This part has probably always been my favorite because there are a few fun interactive spots to play around with. You can check your weight on each planet as well as the moon and even create your own asteroid or comet to send beaming towards Earth. Another highlight of the bottom section is the statue of Albert Einstein. I’m not exactly sure what he is doing by looking at his finger (throwing up gang signs?!) but nevertheless, the statue is great for photo ops.
The Griffith Observatory is one of my favorite places to get a view of Los Angeles. At night, all the lights in the city just gleam brightly and it’s amazing. I could just stand and stare out into the city for a while because it really is mesmerizing.
We’ve learned so much about the universe since the advent of astronomy and, with new feats such as the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, I can’t imagine what new and mind-blowing things we’ll be able to discover in the future.