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Public Telescopes and Star Parties

Lawn TelescopeColonel Griffith J. Griffith left funds in his will to build a public observatory in Los Angeles because he believed in the transformative power of observation. After looking through the research telescope at Mt. Wilson he said: “If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world!” Since opening in 1935, Griffith Observatory has fulfilled his vision by offering public telescope viewing through the historic Zeiss telescope, historic coelostat (solar telescope), and portable telescopes on the lawn. More people have looked through the Zeiss telescope than any telescope in human history. More people have viewed the filtered disk of the Sun on the Observatory coelostat than any solar telescope on Earth.

Free public telescopes are available each evening the Observatory is open and skies are clear. Knowledgeable telescope demonstrators are available to guide visitors in observing. Please be aware that the demonstrators must cut off the line for each telescope by 9:30 p.m. or earlier to enable all viewing to be completed by 9:45 p.m. Hours of telescope operation are not the same as for the building (which closes at 10:00 p.m.)

To learn about what you can see in the night sky over Southern California, check our weekly Sky Report.

One Saturday a month, the Observatory hosts a public star party.

Free public star parties are held monthly at Griffith Observatory from 2:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. with the assistance of volunteers from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers, and The Planetary Society. They are a chance for the whole family to look at the Sun, Moon, visible planets and other objects, to try out a variety of telescopes, and to talk to knowledgeable amateur astronomers about the sky and their equipment.

Please be aware that the astronomers and telescope demonstrators must cut off the line for each telescope to enable all viewing to be completed by 9:45 p.m. Hours for telescope operation are not the same as for the building (which closes at 10:00 p.m.).

Public Star Parties for 2016-2017

2016
November 5 December 10
2017
January 7 July 29
February 4 August 26
March 4 September 30
April 1 October 21
May 6 November 18
June 3 December 16

Griffith Observatory does not permit the operation of private, unauthorized telescopes on its grounds, for either public or private use. The Observatory is responsible for the public safety of its visitors and for the accuracy of any information provided in an astronomical and public setting. Allowing deployment of private telescopes on the grounds implies endorsement of both the instruments and the operators, neither of which the Observatory is capable of verifying.