ExploreExhibitsSamuel Oschin Planetarium

Venture Through Space and Time in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium

Travel to the farthest reaches of the universe and into the microscopic building blocks of life. Live presentations immerse you in the wonder and meaning of the cosmos.

Samuel Oschin Planetarium at the Griffith Observatory.

See the live shows!

With its spectacular Zeiss star projector, digital projection system, state-of-the-art aluminum dome, comfy seats, sound system, and theatrical lighting, the 290-seat Samuel Oschin Planetarium theater is the finest planetarium in the world. Every show is presented by a live, engaging storyteller, and one of our two current shows is offered every 60 to 90 minutes each day the Observatory is open.

Current Shows

Centered in the Universe

We often imagine ourselves at the center of things. That includes our place in the universe, ever since the first people looked up at the sky. Even as our scientific observation has shown the cosmos does not revolve around us, our ongoing investigations continue to keep us Centered in the Universe.

Show Times

Weekdays
1:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 7:45 p.m., 8:45 p.m.

Weekends
11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 6:45 p.m.. 7:45 p.m., 8:45 p.m.

Water is Life

Water Is Life was written and produced for Griffith Observatory’s fifth grade school field trip program. Drawing on the fifth grade science content standards, Water Is Life explores where our water in California comes from, and how water on Earth keeps us alive.

Show Times

Weekdays
12:45 p.m., 4:15 p.m.

Weekends
10:45 a.m., 3:15 p.m.

Light of the Valkyries

Light of the Valkyries takes us on a voyage of Viking cosmology and explores the true nature of the aurora borealis - the northern lights. The Vikings believed the northern lights were Valkyries, warrior spirits who descended from heaven to take fallen heroes from the battlefield to Valhalla, the palace of the gods.

Show Times

Weekdays
Not currently showing

Weekends
Not currently showing

wrist watch

Member Benefit: Griffith Observatory Foundation Members

As an exclusive benefit of membership, Griffith Observatory Foundation members at the Antares level and above may reserve Samuel Oschin Planetarium show tickets in advance! Reservations include parking for one vehicle and are subject to availability. Join today to enjoy this benefit!

Already a member? Submit a request for Samuel Oschin Planetarium reservations today!

Buying Tickets

Show tickets may be purchased only at the Observatory and only for that day’s shows. No online, phone, or advanced purchases are possible. Tickets are available at the main box office inside or at automated ticket machines around the building. Tickets may be purchased with either cash or credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, and Discover). We regret we are unable to accept personal, corporate, or organization checks (including those from public institutions). Here is the list of shows and show times and when tickets for each may be purchased.

Weekdays
Show Time Show Tickets on Sale
12:45 p.m. Water is Life 12:00 noon
1:45 p.m. Centered in the Universe 12:00 noon
2:45 p.m. Centered in the Universe 12:00 noon
4:15 p.m. Water is Life 3:30 p.m.
5:15 p.m. Centered in the Universe 3:30 p.m.
6:15 p.m. Centered in the Universe 3:30 p.m.
7:45 p.m. Centered in the Universe 7:00 p.m.
8:45 p.m. Centered in the Universe 7:00 p.m.
Weekends
Show Time Show Tickets on Sale
10:45 a.m. Water is Life 10:00 a.m.
11:45 a.m. Centered in the Universe 10:00 a.m.
12:45 p.m. Centered in the Universe 10:00 a.m.
2:15 p.m. Centered in the Universe 1:30 p.m.
3:15 p.m. Water is Life 1:30 p.m.
4:15 p.m. Centered in the Universe 3:30 p.m.
5:15 p.m. Centered in the Universe 3:30 p.m.
6:45 p.m. Centered in the Universe 6:00 p.m.
7:45 p.m. Centered in the Universe 6:00 p.m.
8:45 p.m. Centered in the Universe 6:00 p.m.

Tickets for each show are sold until 10 minutes before the listed start time of that show, unless tickets have been sold out prior to that time. Once you have purchased planetarium tickets, there will be NO refunds (unless the show is canceled).

Small Children

The shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium are not appropriate for children under five years of age. The content, visuals, and sound of the planetarium programs are likely to be disorienting and/or disturbing for such children. To ensure a satisfying experience for all our visitors, children under five years old are only admitted to the first show of each day (12:45 p.m. weekdays, 10:45 a.m. weekends).

Ticket Prices

Tickets for shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium are priced as follows:

Adults and Children 13 years and older $7.00
Foundation Members $5.00
Seniors (60 years and older) $5.00
Students (must show ID) $5.00
Children 5-12 years $3.00
Small Children (under 5 years old) FREE

(Small children must sit on the lap of a parent or guardian)

Entering the Show

Once you have your ticket, line up outside on the West Terrace at least 15 to 20 minutes before your show time. There will be building announcements as a reminder, but you are ultimately responsible for being on time. We cannot admit anyone late to the theater. Once the doors have closed, the show is underway and must not be interrupted. If you must leave the theater during the show, you cannot be readmitted.

Proper Behavior

All programs in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium are conducted by a live presenter in near-total darkness. The environment of the planetarium theater is specifically crafted to enable maximum visitor enjoyment of the show. As such, all visitors in the planetarium should refrain from any activities that would be disruptive to those around them (or to the presenter). Such activities include talking, yelling, making distracting noises, standing up, or using cell phones or other devices. We reserve the right to remove disruptive patrons from the theater at any time.

More Information

Hearing assist receivers are available upon request. With 72-hour advance notice, we can also make provision for sign-language interpretation. If you have other questions about seeing the program in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, please call the Observatory’s General Information Line at: (213) 473-0800.

About the Samuel Oschin Planetarium

The Observatory pioneered programs on space travel and innovations in special effects. It remains one of the only theaters in the world to present all programs live.

When the Observatory opened in 1935, its planetarium was the third in the U.S., and the first on the Pacific rim. The star of the theater initially was the Zeiss Mark II star projector, which wowed audiences with its ability to reproduce the night sky. The plaster dome was also state-of-the-art, and its 75-foot diameter made it one of the largest in the world. The Observatory pioneered programs on space travel and “going” to other worlds, while also developing special effects capabilities to support those stories. The original projector was replaced with a new Zeiss Mark IV star projector in 1964.

When the Observatory was renovated and expanded (2002-2006), the theater was transformed into the Samuel Oschin Planetarium with the latest technology (projectors, dome, sound, lighting, seating), including the third Zeiss star projector in the theater, in service of profound storytelling.

Storytelling

We tell stories about the sky. We’ve been at it for over 85 years, but the tradition goes back thousands of years when people would gather around a fire and try to make sense of what they saw. Our shows are all stories that address the big questions: Who are we? Why are we here? Why does the universe look the way it does? All of the technology of the Samuel Oschin Planetarium is in service of telling these stories as effectively and impactfully as possible. We want viewers to ponder, to wonder, and to be inspired. Who better to tell a story than a person? Unlike most other planetaria, Griffith Observatory continues a long tradition of presenting exclusively live planetarium programs with a presenter who can connect with audiences and convey astronomical knowledge with enthusiasm and passion.

Zeiss Star Projector

Imported from Germany, the Zeiss Universarium Mark IX star projector uses fiber-optic technology to deliver the most accurate and awe-inspiring planetarium dome full of stars anywhere. The computerized system offers visitors a detailed view of the night sky filled with thousands of stars and can be oriented to show what the sky looked like at any moment in human history. Griffith Observatory’s scientific team was able to negotiate a fundamental improvement to the standard star field and worked closely with Zeiss engineers to create an unprecedented night sky of remarkable accuracy. Zeiss is so proud of the outcome, they incorporated these refinements into subsequent projectors.

Digistar 5 Projection System

When the Samuel Oschin Planetarium opened in 2006, it was one of the first major facilities in the United States to use Evans & Sutherland’s cutting-edge, all-dome digital laser projection system. Two laser projectors – invisibly mounted in the north and south cove areas – were a giant step forward from the existing CRT video projectors. In 2015, the Digistar 3 laser projection system was upgraded to Digistar 5. The new projection system is comprised of six Christie 4K30, 3DLP projectors, including computer hardware and software upgrades.

The Digistar 5 projection system improves upon the laser video projection in three important ways:

  • 8K resolution, 60 frames per second playback for large-format projection compared to 4K, 30 frames per second playback from our previous laser projectors
  • Intensified color contrast and saturation
  • Reduced distortion of images on the curved planetarium dome surface
  • The 8K projection system transform the entire visual experience. For a dome as large as Griffith Observatory’s (76-foot (23 meters) diameter), the capabilities of the Christie projectors are the best way to bring engaging astronomical visuals to life.

This Digistar 5 projection system was made possible by a generous gift to Friends of the Observatory in 2015 from the Ahmanson Foundation. The gift also supported an upgrade to the sound and theatre control systems. The City of Los Angeles funded a conversion of the Theatrical lighting system to LEDs.

Dome

The Samuel Oschin Planetarium was one of the first to make use of the remarkable ‘seamless’ dome construction technology developed by Spitz, Inc., and demonstrated at the Soaring Over California attraction at Disney’s California Adventure. Though the dome is constructed of separate aluminum panels, the seams between the panels are designed to disappear with proper lighting. Tiny perforations across the dome enable audio speakers, ventilation ducts, and other equipment to be located above and around the outside of the dome, leaving the interior uncluttered. Properly lit, the dome seems infinite to the entering visitor, creating a uniquely immersive experience and a true-to-life re-creation of a remote, luminous, and pristine sky.

Theater Benefactor: The Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. OschinThe naming of the Samuel Oschin Planetarium at Griffith Observatory is one of a long line of charitable gifts made by the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation. The Foundation strives to improve the future for many through its support of astronomy, medicine, education, the arts, animal causes, and a variety of community organizations. With interests ranging from telescopes to microscopes and everything in between, signature donations include the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory and the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Mrs. Oschin says her husband wished the Foundation would encourage others to share in the work of improving our world and bringing hope for the future through stimulating collaboration and building enthusiasm in a broad range of philanthropic projects. She notes that astronomy was her husband’s second love, and so perhaps it was inevitable that their path led to Griffith Observatory.

Mr. Oschin passed away in July 2003 and left a legacy to continue his work through the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation. Contributions to the City of Los Angeles and elsewhere, and to astronomers everywhere, will allow people to keep reaching for the stars for generations to come.

Past Shows


Time’s Up

Time's Up poster

(Show closed Sunday, December 7, 2014)

Each moment of each day, we are immersed in the flow of time, a one-way journey of cause and effect. But what does that really mean? Time’s Up explores the real nature of time and how it shapes the universe. With someone always telling us the world is about to end, now is the time to examine what it all means.

Time’s Up opened to the public on May 31, 2012. An exclusive premiere with Friends Of The Observatory took place on May 29, 2012. Proceeds from the event benefitted Griffith Observatory’s educational programs. Both the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News featured stories about the Observatory’s new show – Time’s Up – in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.