Skip to Main Content Griffith Observatory Home
Menu bar print

Los Angeles

Post card   Post card
UniverseLocal GroupLos Angeles
Solar SystemEarth


© NASA

Our cosmic address begins with the street, neighborhood, and city names that define the Los Angeles area. The view from space reveals a wide basin with large mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south and west.

This corner of the universe is a mix of natural geographic features and structures that we have built. Roads, bridges, and buildings punctuate the hills, rivers, forests, and beaches. Griffith Observatory is just a small speck of white on the Hollywood Hills.

The Scale of Los Angeles

© Larry Brownstein/Getty ImagesMore than ten million Los Angeles basin residents work, play, shop, and go to school at places a few miles from home. Sometimes they have to drive more than an hour to get to work or visit family and friends.

In southern California, people travel on a network of freeways that crisscrosses the area. The amount of time we spend getting anywhere depends on the time of day, weather conditions, and any roadway accidents that might affect traffic. Driving across the basin could take as much as five hours if traffic is heavy. That’s about how long it takes for the Sun’s light to cross the solar system and reach distant Pluto.

postcard postcard postcard postcard postcard