Explore Calendar of Events One Small Step: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11
July 16, 2009
12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Griffith Observatory

One Small Step: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11

A Fortieth Anniversary Celebration of Our First Step on Another World: NASA's Apollo 11 Mission to the Moon

Upcoming NASA Events at Griffith Observatory

On July 16, 1969, a powerful Saturn V rocket launched three men from Earth to the Moon, where, for the first time in history, people walked on the surface of another world. The historic Apollo 11 mission was just the beginning of a journey of exploration that continues today.

Join Griffith Observatory’s celebration of past triumphs and future possibilities. All activities are ongoing throughout the day and evening, with the exception of the special program times listed below. Each activity is free and open to the public up to the capacity of the venue. All lectures are in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon.

  • See a real rock brought back from the Moon.
  • Hear tales of the history and plans for the future of lunar exploration from expert lecturers and Observatory staff.
  • Track the “Stations of Apollo” and mark the progress of the Apollo 11 mission as it flew to the Moon forty years ago.
  • Discover how Apollo astronauts trained under the stars in Griffith Observatory’s planetarium.
  • Snap a picture of your friends with a costumed astronaut
  • Make your own crater on a simulated lunar surface.
  • Meet engineers who built the Apollo spacecraft.
  • Share your memories with friends and family.

Thursday, July 16, 2009:
12:00 noon Stations of Apollo.
3:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax? A half-hour lecture by Dr. David Reitzel, Griffith Observatory’s Astronomical Lecturer.
7:00 p.m. Stations of Apollo.
7:30 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax? A half-hour lecture by Dr. David Reitzel, Griffith Observatory’s Astronomical Lecturer.

Friday, July 17, 2009:
12:00 noon Stations of Apollo.
3:00 p.m. Return to the Moon: What’s Next? A half-hour lecture by Mr. Tony Cook, Griffith Observatory’s Astronomical Observer.
7:00 p.m. Stations of Apollo.
7:30 p.m. Return to the Moon: What’s Next? A half-hour lecture by Mr. Tony Cook, Griffith Observatory’s Astronomical Observer.

Saturday, July 18, 2009:
12:00 noon Stations of Apollo.
2:00 p.m. Remembering Apollo 11, a half-hour lecture by author Rod Pyle.
5:00 p.m. Remembering Apollo 11, a half-hour lecture by author Rod Pyle.
7:00 p.m. Stations of Apollo.
7:30 p.m. Why These Three? How Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins Wound Up on Apollo 11. A one-hour lecture by Mr. Michael Cassutt, co-author of Deke! From Mercury to the Shuttle, and author of Red Moon and Tango Midnight.

Sunday, July 19, 2009:
11:30 a.m. California Goes to the Moon: A one-hour panel discussion with southern California aerospace engineers that built the Apollo spacecraft; Sponsored by the Aerospace Legacy Foundation and moderated by Griffith Observatory’s Chris Butler.
12:00 noon Stations of Apollo.
3:45 p.m. California Goes to the Moon: A one-hour panel discussion with southern California aerospace engineers that built the Apollo spacecraft; Sponsored by the Aerospace Legacy Foundation and moderated by Griffith Observatory’s Chris Butler.
7:00 p.m. Stations of Apollo.

Explore Calendar of Events An Evening with Cassini
August 21, 2009
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater

An Evening with Cassini

A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Laura Danly, Curator, Griffith Observatory.

Upcoming NASA Events at Griffith Observatory

A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Laura Danly, Curator, Griffith Observatory, with talks on:

Saturn – Kevin Baines, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Rings of Saturn – Linda Spilker, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Saturn’s Magnetosphere – Tamas Gombosi, University of Michigan

Enceladus and Saturn’s Other Icy Satellites – Amanda Hendrix, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Saturn’s Great Moon Titan – Jonathan Lunine, University of Arizona

Explore Calendar of Events Buzz Aldrin Day in Los Angeles
August 27, 2009
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Griffith Observatory

Buzz Aldrin Day in Los Angeles

Ceremony including a public presentation and book signing by the Apollo 11 astronaut

Upcoming City of Los Angeles Events

On July 20, 1969, two men became the first humans to step onto the surface of another world. One of those men was Dr. Buzz Aldrin, who has spent the last 40 years keeping alive the excitement of that historic experience and advocating for space exploration in the future. The Observatory was pleased to host Dr. Aldrin on August 27, 2009, as part of “Buzz Aldrin Day in Los Angeles”, after which Dr. Aldrin briefly addressed Observatory visitors and then signed copies of his most recent autobiography, Magnificent Desolation, which has been on best-seller lists for nearly two months. This event was free and open to the public; several hundred people attended.

At 6:00 p.m., under hot and smoky skies, Dr. E. C. Krupp, Director of Griffith Observatory, welcomed the public and introduced The Honorable Tom LaBonge, 4th District Councilmember. On behalf of the city, Councilmember La Bonge declared it to be “Buzz Aldrin Day in Los Angeles” and read a proclamation to that effect. He then introduced Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut, who recounted some of his experiences in preparing to go to the Moon, standing on the lunar surface, and then dealing with the ups and downs upon his return to Earth.

At 6:35 p.m., Dr. Aldrin began signing copies of Magnificent Desolation for a very long line of people waiting for the opportunity. At the same time, multiple telescopes were set up along the sidewalks by Observatory staff and volunteers from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society (LAAS) for free public viewing of the first quarter Moon looming high above the Observatory’s copper domes.

Explore Calendar of Events Special Guest Lecture and Book Signing by Don Lincoln
November 6, 2009
7:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater

Special Guest Lecture and Book Signing by Don Lincoln

Don Lincoln is the Senior Physicist with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He is the author of the new book, The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider.

Observatory Front Lawn

Upcoming Special Guest Lectures at Griffith Observatory

Don Lincoln is the Senior Physicist with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He is the author of the new book, The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a new “atom smasher” designed to recreate the conditions of the universe just scant fractions of a second after the Big Bang. In The QuantumFrontier, Dr. Lincoln explains the LHC and the physics it is intended to explore.

November 6, 2009, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
All Space Considered: FREE public program and book signing.

November 7, 2009, 12:00 noon and 2:30 p.m.
Public Lecture and Book Signing: Dr. Lincoln will give two FREE lectures and will be available to sign his new book, The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider.

Explore Calendar of Events One Small Step: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 12
November 14, 2009
2:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Griffith Observatory

One Small Step: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 12

Griffith Observatory Continues its Celebration of NASA’s Apollo Missions to the Moon with Events Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Flight of Apollo 12

Upcoming NASA Events at Griffith Observatory

On November 14, 1969, just four months after the successful landing on the Moon by Apollo 11, a second powerful Saturn V rocket launched the three astronauts of Apollo 12 on a mission to the Ocean of Storms on the lunar surface. Griffith Observatory celebrates the fortieth anniversary of this historic voyage with two days of lectures and exhibits.

Exhibits are open during regular Observatory hours. Lecture times are listed below. Exhibits and lectures are free and open to the public up to the capacity of the venue. All lectures are in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater.

  • Hear tales of the history of lunar exploration from Observatory staff.
  • See a real rock brought back from the Moon.
  • Discover how Apollo astronauts trained under the stars in Griffith Observatory’s planetarium.
  • Share your memories with friends and family.


Lecture Schedule for Saturday, November 14, and Sunday, November 15, 2009
:

2:00 p.m. A Trek to the Ocean of Storms: the Story of Apollo 12. A half-hour lecture by Anthony Cook, Griffith Observatory’s Astronomical Observer.
4:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax? A half-hour lecture by Dr. David Reitzel, Griffith Observatory’s Astronomical Lecturer.
6:00 p.m. A Trek to the Ocean of Storms: the Story of Apollo 12. A half-hour lecture by Anthony Cook, Griffith Observatory’s Astronomical Observer.
8:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax? A half-hour lecture by Dr. David Reitzel, Griffith Observatory’s Astronomical Lecturer.

Explore Calendar of Events One Small Step: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 13
April 11, 2010
1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater

One Small Step: The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 13

Griffith Observatory Continues its Celebration of NASA’s Apollo Missions to the Moon with Events Marking the 40th Anniversary of the Flight of Apollo 13

Upcoming NASA Events at Griffith Observatory

When it launched from the Cape on April 11, 1970, the three astronauts aboard Apollo 13 thought they would be the third crew to successfully land on the Moon. In the early morning of April 14, 1970, as the spacecraft approached the Moon, a fault in the electrical system of one of Apollo 13’s service module’s oxygen tanks ruptured, causing a loss of electrical power and failure of both oxygen tanks. The command module remained functional on its own batteries and oxygen tank, which were only designed to support the crew during the last hours of the mission. The crew shut down the command module and used the intended lunar lander module as a “lifeboat” during the nearly four days of the return trip. Despite great hardship caused by the limited power and oxygen, loss of cabin heat, and a shortage of potable water, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17, 1970, and the mission was termed “a successful failure.”

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of this dramatic mission, Griffith Observatory is offering special lectures on the 40th anniversary of each of the three key days of the mission: launch, accident, and return. Lectures will be presented by the Observatory staff in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater. All lectures are free and open to the public up to the capacity of the theater.

  • Hear tales of the history of lunar exploration from Observatory staff.
  • See a real rock brought back from the Moon.
  • Discover how Apollo astronauts trained under the stars in Griffith Observatory’s planetarium.
  • Share your memories with friends and family.

Lecture Schedule for Sunday, April 11, 2010:

1:00 p.m. Let’s Make a Comet demonstration
2:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax
3:00 p.m. Let’s Make a Comet demonstration
4:00 p.m. Remembering Apollo 13: 40 Years Since Launch

Lecture Schedule for Wednesday, April 14, 2010:

7:30 p.m. Houston, We Have a Problem

Lecture Schedule for Saturday, April 17, 2010:

12:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax
2:00 p.m. Remembering Apollo 13: A Safe Return to Earth
4:00 p.m. The Moon Landings: Hoax or No Hoax
6:00 p.m. Remembering Apollo 13: A Safe Return to Earth

Explore Calendar of Events Griffith Observatory Celebrates 75 Years of Public Service!
May 14, 2010
12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory Celebrates 75 Years of Public Service!

On May 14, 1935, Los Angeles civic, scientific, and cultural leaders gathered on the side of Mt. Hollywood to celebrate the opening of Griffith Observatory.

Griffith Observatory Celebrates 75 Years of Public Service!

On May 14, 1935, Los Angeles civic, scientific, and cultural leaders gathered on the side of Mt. Hollywood to celebrate the opening of Griffith Observatory. Only the third planetarium in the U.S. – and the first along the Pacific Rim – the Observatory was the vision of Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, who believed in the transforming power of astronomical observation and cosmic inspiration. Review some of the notable moments in the Observatory’s history here.

That day also marked the transfer of the completed building and grounds from Colonel Griffith’s trust to the City of Los Angeles. In the last 75 years, Griffith Observatory has become the most visited public observatory in the world. Owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Observatory has welcomed more than 73 million visitors and is an icon of southern California.

We hope you will join us during our year-long celebration of Griffith Observatory’s diamond anniversary.

Astronomy writer Carolyn Collins Petersen posted a story about the Observatory’s birthday as the May 15 entry on the 365 Days of Astronomy blog. Listen to her story.

Our Birthday Year (May 14, 2010 – May 14, 2011)

May 14, 2010 - The 75th Birthday Celebrations

Griffith Observatory got the party started at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 14, with the unveiling of the 75th anniversary banner above the north doors of the building.  That was followed by the presentation of a City Council proclamation by Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge.  Seventy-five birthday balloons were then deployed from each of the Observatory’s two telescope domes.  The ceremony ended with an astronomical presentation of cupcakes (provided by Temptations Cupcakes), a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”, and a group picture of all those in attendance.

The Observatory hosted a second public birthday celebration at 8:35 p.m. that night.  Councilmember LaBonge again saluted the Observatory’s 75 years of public service.  The Observatory then captured light from the star Gemma to illuminate 75 lights on the architectural model of Griffith Observatory.  The light from Gemma left the star in 1935, the year the Observatory opened on May 14.

May 15, 2010 - Cosmic Conjunction 2010

The birthday excitement continued the next night, as Friends Of The Observatory presented Cosmic Conjunction 2010: Diamond Nights * Northern Lights, a celebration to raise funds for the Observatory’s education programs.  Those attending the benefit were the first to see Light of the Valkyries, the new, live planetarium show set to the dramatic music of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle.  After the exclusive show premiered in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, visitors descended for dinner as shimmering northern lights bathed the Observatory’s grand staircase. Proceeds from Cosmic Conjunction 2010, Griffith Observatory’s second annual signature event connecting astronomy and the arts, fund the educational program that brings thousands of school children to the Observatory to connect with astronomy through music and imaginative storytelling.

May 18, 2010 - Public Premiere of Light of the Valkyries

The Observatory premieres its fourth new program in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Light of the Valkyries takes audiences on a voyage of Viking cosmology and explores the true nature of the aurora borealis – the northern lights. The show explores the source of the northern lights (the Sun) and viewers thrill to a cosmic light show set to one of the most iconic pieces of music of all time, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. The program was the Observatory’s contribution to the city-wide Ring Festival LA, a celebration of the arts associated with the LA Opera’s grand presentation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. The show is offered twice each day, at 5:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.

Explore Calendar of Events Special Guest Lecture and Book Signing by Megan Prelinger
June 2, 2010
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater

Special Guest Lecture and Book Signing by Megan Prelinger

Special Guest Lecture and Book Signing by Megan Prelinger, author of Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race, 1957-1962

Observatory Front Lawn

Upcoming Special Guest Lectures at Griffith Observatory

Russia’s 1957 launch of the Sputnik satellite shocked the world and lit a fire in America to get a man into space and onto the Moon. The space race was on, the aerospace industry was hot, and, according to Roger D. Launius, Curator of the National Air and Space Museum, “science fiction became science fact.” Aerospace industry ads pitched the idea that we lived in a moment where anything was possible—Mars and the Moon were the new western frontier; gravity was history, and soon so would be the confines of our solar system itself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Megan Prelinger is a historian and a lifelong collector of space history ephemera and science fiction literature. She is co-founder and architect of information design of the Prelinger Library, a private research library open to the public, which houses more than forty thousand books and other print artifacts on North American regional and land-use history, media and cultural studies, and technology, including a space history collection. She is also a naturalist and rehabilitator of aquatic avian species. She lives and works in San Francisco.

Explore Calendar of Events Special Guest Lecture and Book Signing by Dr. Brian May and Elena Vidal
July 29, 2010
6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater

Special Guest Lecture and Book Signing by Dr. Brian May and Elena Vidal

Special Guest Lecture and Book Signing by Dr. Brian May and Elena Vidal, author of A Village Lost and Found

Observatory Front Lawn

Upcoming Special Guest Lectures at Griffith Observatory

Although Albert Einstein accustomed us to a four-dimensional spacetime continuum, we are usually more at home in the three-dimensional world. Dr. Brian May, noted astronomer and renowned rock guitarist and singer, is at home in any dimension. In this special visit to Griffith Observatory, he and his coauthor, historian Elena Vidal, bring the 3D perspective into sharp focus in a presentation of their work on the pioneering nineteenth-century stereoscopic photography of T.R. Williams. Dr. May is also an expert in this art, and this unusual lecture highlights the rediscovery of this imagery by Dr. May and Ms. Vidal, who will autograph copies of their new book on the rural scenes Williams captured, A Village Lost and Found.

TICKETS will be required for this event and will be sold only at the Observatory on the day of the show on a first-come, first-served basis. The box office is located at the Center of Gravity. No advance purchases are possible, though FOTO members are permitted to reserve tickets in advance.

6:30 p.m. LECTURE
Box office opens at 5:00 p.m.
Doors open 6:10 p.m.

8:30 p.m. LECTURE
Box office opens at 7:00 p.m.
Doors open 8:10 p.m.

TICKET PRICES:
Adults and Children 13 years and older $7.00
FOTO Members $5.00
Seniors (60 years and older) $5.00
Students (must show ID) $5.00
Children 5-12 years $3.00

There will be a limit of four tickets per transaction. Children under five will not be admitted.

BOOK SIGNING. There will be two book signings, at roughly 7:40 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. Dr. May and Ms. Vidal will ONLY be signing copies of A Village Lost and Found, as well as copies of Dr. May’s astronomy book Bang. No other items (CDs, T-shirts, albums, photos, other books, etc.) will be signed.

PARKING. Parking is free in Griffith Observatory’s parking lot and along the adjacent roads. Because it will be a busy summer night, we are also offering free shuttles every 10-15 minutes from the main parking lot at the Greek Theatre to the Observatory (and back). The first shuttle leaves the Greek Theatre at 4:30 p.m. and the last shuttle leaves the Observatory at 10:10 p.m.

To view Brian May’s modern stereo cards, including some astronomical subjects, click here.

PHOTOS. Photos are permitted subject to the following conditions:

  • During the lecture, flash photography is only permitted during the introductions. It is not permitted during the lecture or Q&A period. No video or audio recordings of any kind are permitted. Those violating these conditions will be removed from the theater.
  • During the book signing, NO flash photography or video/audio recordings are permitted at any time. Posed pictures with Dr. May and Ms. Vidal will not be possible.
Explore Calendar of Events Honoring John Dobson on His 95th Birthday
September 18, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Griffith Observatory

Honoring John Dobson on His 95th Birthday

Sidewalk Astronomers, and the Los Angeles Astronomical Society will be celebrating John Dobson’s 95th birthday with a day of public astronomy at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

Upcoming Special Guest Lectures at Griffith Observatory

On Sept 18th, Griffith Observatory, Sidewalk Astronomers, and the Los Angeles Astronomical Society will be celebrating John Dobson’s 95th birthday with a day of public astronomy at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. John Dobson will be on hand to meet with the public.

The event starts at 10 a.m. when the observatory opens to the public. Astronomers from the Sidewalk Astronomers will be polishing a 16.5″ mirror and constructing a mount for a telescope that will be used to observe the Moon as part of the International Observe the Moon Night program later that evening. Supplies and blanks will be on hand so that the public and other amateurs can try grinding and see what it takes to grind a mirror.

At 5:00 p.m., a special program featuring John Dobson will be held in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater. This will be a great opportunity for the public and local amateurs to learn about what inspired John to the life of public service astronomy.

At 6:30 p.m., join us on the front lawn of the Observatory for a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to Mr. Dobson as the sun sets and an evening of observation begins.

The event is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.