Griffith Observatory is in Los Angeles, California, on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. It commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction with a close view of the Hollywood Sign and an extensive array of space and science-related displays. It is named after its benefactor, Griffith J. Griffith. Admission has been free since the observatory’s opening in 1935, by the benefactor’s will. Over 7 million people have been able to view through the 12-inch (30.5 cm) Zeiss refractor since the observatory’s 1935 opening; this is the most people to have viewed through any telescope.
On December 16, 1896, 3,015 acres (12.20 km2) of land surrounding the observatory was donated to the City of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith. In his will, Griffith donated funds to build an observatory, exhibit hall, and planetarium on the donated land. Griffith’s objective was to make astronomy accessible to the public, as opposed to the prevailing idea that observatories should be located on remote mountaintops and restricted to scientists. Griffith drafted detailed specifications for the observatory. In drafting the plans, he consulted with Walter Sydney Adams, the future director of Mount Wilson Observatory, and George Ellery Hale. They founded (with Andrew Carnegie) the first astrophysical telescope in Los Angeles. As a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, construction began on June 20, 1933, using a design developed by architects John C. Austin and Frederic Morse Ashley (1870-1960), based on preliminary sketches by Russell W. Porter. Bed Bug Exterminator LA King
The first exhibit visitors encountered in 1935 was the Foucault pendulum, designed to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. The exhibits also included a 12-inch (305mm) Zeiss refracting telescope in the east dome, a triple-beam coelostat (solar telescope) in the west dome, and a thirty-eight-foot relief model of the moon’s north polar region. Griffith requested that the observatory include a display on evolution, accomplished with the Cosmochron exhibit, which included narration from Caltech Professor Chester Stock and an accompanying slide show. The evolution exhibit existed from 1937 to the mid-1960s. Also included in the original design was a planetarium under the large central dome. The first shows covered topics including the Moon, worlds of the Solar System, and eclipses. The planetarium theater was renovated in 1964, and a Mark IV Zeiss projector was installed.
The Café at the End of the Universe, an homage to Restaurant at the End of the Universe, is one of the many cafés run by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. One wall inside the building is covered with the largest astronomically accurate image ever constructed (152 feet (46 m) long by 20 feet (6.1 m) high), called “The Big Picture,” depicting the Virgo Cluster of galaxies; visitors can explore the highly detailed image from within arm’s reach or through telescopes 60 feet (18 m) away. In 2006 the 1964-vintage Zeiss Mark IV star projector was replaced with a Zeiss Mark IX Universarium. The former planetarium projector is part of the underground exhibit on ways humanity has visualized the skies.
Address: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA
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