Los Angeles: Dusk Till Dawn
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Starry Night

Caption | The Griffith Observatory lights up the Hills in Los Angeles, as it plays host to its monthly Public Access Star Party..

Caption | Why do people come to the Griffith Observatory? What is there to see in the night sky? The Griffith Observatory's resident experts explain.

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Most the stars associated with Los Angeles tend to be in the celebrity form in Hollywood. But outside of Tinseltown, the LA night sky has become a focal attraction point for one building in particular – The Griffith Observatory.

Tim Thompson, the president of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, explained that people in LA enjoyed coming to the Observatory to see the night sky, something that is harder to do from ground level due to the city’s light pollution. “People are interested to know what’s up there,” said Thompson, as he gestured to the crowds of people peeking through telescopes set up on the front lawn of the Observatory.

Whether you’re bringing the family or on a date, the observatory has the perfect views and settings to make the visit enjoyable. The views of the City of Los Angeles from the terraces are breathtakingly beautiful, and many amateur photographers set up their tripods to capture the panoramic landscape. Once a month, the Observatory hosts a ‘Star Party’ open to the public, where expert and amateur astronomers set up their telescopes side by side, and give the public an opportunity to see some truly amazing sights in the night sky.

Sandra Montez, a freshman at California State University in Northridge, came to the star party to, well, see some stars. “I just like looking at the view, the planets, the stars, and the sky,” said Montez. “My favorite part is the Zeiss telescope, that’s what I look at whenever I come, I like looking at the moon.” But Montez was particularly excited to see Saturn that night. “I’ve never seen Saturn before, it looks so pretty!”

The Observatory was closed for renovation in 2002, and it reopened its doors to the public in 2006. One of the main additions was 40,000 square feet of exhibition space below the front lawn. The space now houses the Big Picture exhibition along with large planetary models of the solar system. The renovation also saw the installation of a brand new, state-of-the-art planetarium and the Leonard Nimoy Event Theater, which holds presentations for the public. The Observatory is open 6 days a week from 12pm till 10pm on weekdays and 10am till 10pm on weekends.

James Becaria, a museum guide at the Griffith Observatory, spoke of how the renovations and new additions had attracted a lot more of the public. “We have some cool exhibits. My favorite is the one where you can stand on scales and find out what you weigh on each planet,” said Becaria. By including more interactive displays, children were encouraged to get more involved with the learning process in a fun and friendly environment.

Making the stars and planets an interactive experience certainly went down well with one young fan of the Observatory. Jackie Greg, an entrepreneur from Los Angeles, brought her 4-year-old daughter Isabella to teach her more about the night sky. “This is Isabella’s first time here. We love the views and we love the history here,” said Greg. “I also saw Saturn and the Moon,” said Isabella, as she danced around her mother. “My favorite is Saturn, you can see the rings!”

Take a guided tour through the inside of the Griffith Observatory

Why do people visit the Griffith Observatory? Find out here

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Wig Out!
One night a month, artists get together in Downtown's Bordello to perform for each other - and a wigged-out audience.

Bicycle Kitchen
The bicycle culture is a growing trend to some. To those at the Bicycle Kitchen, it is a rare opportunity to discover cohesion and a new perspective of the city.

The stories: 24 Hour Diner | Bicycle Kitchen | Club Hwood | Crime Scene | Flower Market | Food Trucks | Ghost Hunters
Hollywood Park | Night at the Museum | Night Golf | Night Productions | Santa Monica Pier | Starry Night | Wig Out

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Background photo by MikeFinkelstein