Skip to Main Content Griffith Observatory Home
Menu bar print



Mars

MARS CLOSE APPROACH
FREE PUBLIC VIEWING EVENT

Griffith Observatory provides a rare opportunity for the public to see the planet Mars at its closest to Earth for the next 17 years!




Monday, July 30 at 10:00 p.m. to
Tuesday July 31 at 2:00 a.m.

See it from Griffith Observatory
or
Watch it live on GriffithObservatoryTV
LiveStream or YouTube      


GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY GROUNDS OPEN - BUILDING CLOSED
Telescopes will be available on the lawn for free public viewing.
The Café at the End of the Universe and the Stellar Emporium will have carts outside from 10:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.

IMPORTANT VISITOR GUIDANCE
Vermont entrance to Griffith Park closes at 12:00 midnight
(NO vehicles admitted after that time, including taxis and shared ride).
Fern Dell entrance to Griffith Park closes at sunset.
DASH Observatory service to Metro station ends at 10:00 p.m.
No tour bus access to Observatory after 7:30 p.m.
Please do not bring personal telescopes, blankets, chairs, coolers etc.


For four hours, beginning on Monday night, July 30, at 10:00 p.m., Griffith Observatory provides a rare opportunity for you to see the planet Mars at its closest. On that evening, Earth and Mars will be 35.8 million miles from each other, the closest that they have been since the historic 34.6 million-mile close approach in August, 2003. By a celestial coincidence, at the same time, Mars will be at its very best position for viewing through a telescope from Los Angeles, as it crosses the meridian and appears highest in the southern sky. The next similar close approach won’t happen until September 11, 2035, when Mars will be 35.4 million miles away.

NOTE: Unlike an eclipse, Mars will not change in appearance during the course of the evening.

Event/Close Approach Timeline

EVENT BEGINS 10:00 p.m. (grounds open)
Griffith Park gate closes 12:00 midnight
Mars at closest approach 12:45 a.m.
EVENT ENDS 2:00 a.m.

Access

  • Vermont entrance into Griffith Park will close at 12:00 midnight. It may close earlier if all parking is full.
    • If you are taking a shared-ride or taxi to depart the event, that vehicle must be inside the park entrance by midnight.
  • Western Canyon/Fern Dell entrance into Griffith Park will close at sunset.
  • Expect significant congestion, likely road closures, and possible park closure.
  • DASH Observatory bus service from the Sunset/Vermont Metro station ends, as usual, at 10:00 p.m.

Parking

  • Limited paid parking on/near Observatory (free after 10:00 p.m.)
  • Most parking available in Greek Theatre area (free all day).

Advice for Visiting

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for walking uphill (up to 1.5 miles); bring water.
  • Please do not bring blankets, chairs, coolers, tripods, furniture or similar items. There will not be room on the lawn, because it will be filled with telescopes!
  • Please do not bring personal telescopes.
  • Expect very large crowds, traffic delays, limited parking, and road/park closures.

Bad Weather Plan

If rain is forecast for the close approach by Sunday, July 29, at 3:00 p.m., the event will be canceled. We shall post a notice on our homepage if rain is likely.