ExploreExhibitsWilder Hall of the EyeCamera Obscura

Camera Obscura

The camera obscura may seem like it depends on magic, but it is a really simple piece of optical equipment. It projects an image of the outside world into a dark room through a pinhole. The camera obscura on the Griffith Observatory roof uses a mirror and rotating turret to produce the reflected image seen here.

Anybody can build a camera obscura. Artists use them to trace projected images. Astronomers once relied on them when observing the sun.


Inside Camera Obscura Housing

A Camera Obscura is a basic observing tool that uses mirrors and lenses to focus light onto a flat surface. Griffith Observatory’s new Camera Obscura is a larger and more capable version of a previous exhibit. The current version features a periscope-like tube on the east side of the Observatory’s roof, which reflects images down onto the Camera Obscura table. With its continuously rotating tube, the Camera Obscura provides spectacular views of Los Angeles vistas and reminds visitors that they have reached an observational junction of Earth and sky. The Observatory’s new Camera Obscura instrument was built by George Keene.