Please contact Friends Of The Observatory for more information regarding sponsoring an architectural element or exhibit. Dial 213-473-0879 or email FOTOFriend@FOTO.org. Thank you for your interest.
Ann Marie and Jack C. Wilder Hall of the Eye
These exhibits illustrate the nature and progress of human observation of the sky and the tools used for that exploration. They focus on how people have observed the sky and the often profound impact those observations have had on people and society. Each of the four Hall of the Eye exhibit areas chart the key developments that have further evolved our ability to help our eyes see farther, fainter, and beyond. Sponsorship opportunities here are:
●Using the Sky
Five elegant and engaging moving dioramas illustrate examples of how people have used the sky for thousands of years to improve their lives and acquire important knowledge. The scenes show how observing the sky was fundamental to daily life until relatively recent times.
●Extending the Eye
By manipulating optical tools — telescopes, lenses and mirrors — on this "workbench" in the center of the gallery, visitors begin to understand how Galileo's introduction of the telescope profoundly changed our observation of the sky and our perception of our place in the universe.
●Beyond the Visible
A large glass wall display features eye-popping visuals to reveal how our ability to detect and record radiation beyond visible light (e.g., gamma rays, infrared, radio waves) was the most recent transformation to opening wide the doorway to the universe. In doing so, this exhibit illustrates the most modern processes of astronomical observation and discovery.
This updated version of a basic observing tool features a full, rotating, 360-degree field of view of spectacular Los Angeles vistas.
W. M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda
At the nexus of the original building, the restored W. M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda celebrates the intersection of science and mythology, earth and sky, and the man whose vision brought the Observatory into being, Griffith J. Griffith.
●Griffith J. Griffith Exhibit
The exhibit profiles the Observatory's benefactor and proponent of public astronomy and includes the original 1896 City Council proclamation accepting Griffith's donation of the land for Griffith Park.
The grand entry-way to the Samuel Oschin Planetarium and Gunther Depths of Space. An homage to the architectural beauty of Art Deco and Beaux Art with walls, floor and columns of travertine and marble. Crowned by a beautiful ceiling mural by American muralist Anthony Heinsbergen, considered the foremost designer of North American theater interiors. The South Gallery is filled with inspiring images inlcuding Jupiter's moons and the Trifid nebula in historic bronze frames. Marble benches provide a respite for Friends Of The Observatory members awaiting the planetarium show.
Classic astronomical images are backlit in the Observatory's historic bronze frames outside the Samuel Oschin Planetarium Theater.
Ahmanson Hall of the Sky (West Alcoves)
The Ahmanson Hall of the Sky establishes each person's connection to the primary objects in our sky: the Moon and the Sun. Each of the six historic alcoves illustrates how the movements of the Earth, Moon, and Sun — and their interactions — affect profoundly our daily lives, even if the eye does not fully reveal their nature. The sponsorship opportunities here are:
●Day and Night
A projection globe illustrates how Earth's rotation on its axis causes day and night. Aligned with clocks for eight cities around the world, the exhibit also shows how the tilt of our axis results in the length of day and night varying by location and season.
●Sun and Stars' Paths
A large projection shows how the paths of the Sun and stars path across the Los Angeles sky change month by month.
A moving overhead model reveals how the Earth's tilted axis and its motion in orbit around the Sun cause seasonal changes.
An overhead model puts visitors in prime position to observe how the motion of the Moon around the Earth produces monthly pattern of phases.
A moving diorama and overhead video combine to reveal how the gravitational pull of both Moon and Sun cause the daily high and low tides along Earth's coastlines.
Rare and beautiful, eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align to produce unique moments in the sky.
Ahmanson Hall of the Sky (West Rotunda)
The Ahmanson Hall of the Sky establishes each person's connection to the primary objects in our sky: the Moon and the Sun. The rotunda focuses on the Sun and is anchored by one of the largest public solar telescopes in the United States. The sponsorship opportunities here are:
An elegant, eight-foot high periodic table "sculpture" includes individual boxes and samples and allows visitors to understand how all the elements we know, and which compose us, are made through the birth, life and death of stars. We are all literally made of material from stars.
●Our Sun is a Star
Scaled models and animations show how the proximity of our local star — the Sun — is critical to our lives and helps us study the nature of all stars, the engines of the universe.
●West Equivalency Station
This station brings all the images and experiences of the rotunda exhibits to those who cannot climb stairs into the rotunda.
●The Active Sun
The latest still and video images of our energetic Sun from orbiting spacecraft are displayed in the rotunda's historic bronze frames.
Edge of Space / Pieces of the Sky
The mezzanine area of the Gunther Depths of Space showcases samples of the universe that come to Earth from space or that we acquire through space exploration. It provides visitors with an experience that bridges the more familiar Earth-bound orientation toward the universe with a more cosmic perspective informed by the most sophisticated astronomical instruments ever built. The sponsorship opportunities here are:
●Meteorite Alcove: California Meteorites
Meteorites from across California — including the largest stony meteorite found in the state — help visitors understand how to identify meteorites.
●Meteorite Alcove: Meteorite Impacts
Impacts by objects from space have shaped the evolution of the Earth (and most other bodies in the solar system), including the extinction of the dinosaurs.
●Meteorite Alcove: Meteorite Histories
Different types of meteorites come from different parts of asteroids and other bodies, revealing how those objects formed and evolved. The exhibit features touchable samples from the core and crust of an asteroid.
●Meteorite Alcove: Meteorite Origins
Whether from asteroids, comets, or planets and moons, meteorites help us understand the formation and evolution of the solar system. The exhibit features touchable samples from Mars and the Moon.
●Meteorite Alcove: Meteors and Comets
The brief streaks of light across the night sky are signs that objects from space are falling through our atmosphere. Most are caused by pieces of debris shed by comets.
Anchored by the Observatory's detailed six-foot moon globe, this exhibit features an Apollo Moon rock to show how our closest neighbor helps us better understand our own home and cosmic history. A scale lets visitors "cut" their weight to one-sixth what it would be on Earth.
Last operated in the 1980s, the Observatory's refurbished spark chamber discharges each time a charged particle passes through its electrically-charged surface, revealing the constant bombardment of the Earth by cosmic rays.
Today's headlines and video highlights help visitors keep up with advances in astronomy.
Richard and Lois Gunther Depths of Space
This large new exhibit hall reflects the recent transformation of cosmic perspective that began when people first ventured into space. No longer is observation and understanding of the sky bonded to the ground and framed by the horizon. The sponsorship opportunities here are:
●The Big Picture
At 152 feet long and 20 feet high, The Big Picture is the largest astronomical image ever produced. It displays real observational data of a part of the sky showing over a million visible galaxies, stars and other celestial objects.
A bronze statue of the famous physicist sits on a bench with his right index finger held roughly a foot from his face. The Big Picture depicts roughly what Einstein's finger held up to the night sky would cover.
●Depth of Space
A series of animations establishes how the seemingly two-dimensional Big Picture actually is a three-dimensional volume filled with stars, galaxies and quasars at widely varying distances from Earth.
●Milky Way Galaxy
An eight-foot, luminous, astronomically accurate glass model of the Milky Way Galaxy floats in midair and illustrates the three-dimensional character of our galactic home.
●Other Worlds, Other Stars
This unique station highlights the profound and ongoing discoveries of other planetary systems since 1995, likely the single most compelling area of recent astronomical discovery. An LED counter of known planets illustrates the pace of discovery while a series of large, visitor-activated simulations show what the new planetary systems might be like.
●Superstar Images / Iconic Universe
Spectacular recent images of distant nebulae, galaxies and stars hover on a 12-foot screen. This screen also provides an opportunity to highlight breaking news and the most recent scientific results.
This powerful and simple display uses five large, arresting images to present the ever-increasing scale of the universe by employing the storyline of a "postcard" on which the complete "cosmic" address of a visitor to the Observatory is written.
●Zeiss Projector Display
The Zeiss Mark IV planetarium projector used in the former planetarium theater from 1964-2002 is a symbol of our old, Earth-based perspective on the sky.
A long-time visitor favorite, this instrument measures the sudden movements of the Earth's crust, both far and near (including "earthquakes" created by jumping).
A black, four-foot diameter sphere in the center of the floor can be approached from all sides, but only from one vantage point — Earth — does a familiar arrangement of illuminated stars take form.
●Our Solar System
Visitors' eyes are drawn upward to a suspended eight-foot-diameter projected model of the solar system, with each planet accurately tracking its revolution around the Sun.
Directly across the Gunther Depths of Space from The Big Picture are a series of nine 14-foot-high pylons which profile the planets of our solar system as landscapes revealed through space exploration. Each pylon features a scaled planet globe overhead, a scale on which visitors can weigh themselves, and models and video elements illustrating what it would be like to be there.
Closest to the Sun, airless Mercury looks a lot like our Moon and has huge temperature differences between its day and night sides.
A runaway greenhouse effect makes this the hottest planet, with gigantic volcanoes and a sulfuric acid atmosphere.
Our home planet is the gateway for exploration of other worlds.
Though cold and dry today, the Red Planet may once have been warmer and covered with oceans.
The giant of the solar system boasts atmospheric storms larger than Earth and dozens of orbiting moons, at least one of which may harbor an ocean of liquid water.
Its stunning rings make it the most distinctive in appearance, but its moon Triton is the only such body in the solar system with an atmosphere.
Tilted on its side by a long-ago collision, this world has extreme seasons and rings.
Methane gas tints the atmosphere a deep blue while the fastest winds in the solar system propel huge storms across the planet.
●Pluto and Beyond
Small, cold, and distant, Pluto and its moon, Charon, are among the largest of the vast number of worlds occupying the Kuiper Belt.
*All sponsorship opportunities are for a period of 25 years and recognized with a bronze plaque.