During this last Oscar season everyone was talking about LaLa Land, a musical in which boy meets girl and dance in the stars. For those who don’t know, that date took place at the famous Griffith Observatory – the planetarium and one of the most charming places in Los Angeles, where you can have a spectacular view of city and its lights.
If you are a mystic, a nerd or a fan of the universe, astronomy, astrology, tarot and everything else magical, I highly recommend that when you go to LA, you visit the Griffith. Besides its glamorous building, it also offers other attractions such as the telescope (from where I first saw Saturn) and the Planetarium theater show that you can’t miss, called “Centered in the Universe”, projected on the ceiling.
Another amazing attraction that many people are not aware of is that the Observatory promotes “Public Star Parties”. Once a month, several knowledgeable amateur astronomers bring their telescopes to the Griffith Gardens (with the assistance of volunteers from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society) to talk about the sky and to show the Sun, Moon, visible planets, and other objects to the general public.
The Los Angeles Astronomical Society also sponsors other “Star Parties” outside of Griffith’s area. I was fortunate enough to participate in one of those with a “Meetup” Group (with about 30 people). We traveled to Mount Pinos National Park (approximately 2 hours away from Los Angeles) and arrived at the place where the astronomers would later set their equipment. Then we shared a potluck and went hiking.
Upon returning to the picnic spot, the astronomers were already installed with their powerful telescopes. A woman had a “sky chart”, and as the hours went by she taught us: “Now Jupiter is already visible … now you can also check the star XYZ …”. I’ve never seen a sky as clear and as starry in my life as the one I saw that night. We stayed there until almost 4 o’clock in the morning and then returned to the city.
And after showing the pictures and sharing this wonderful experience with a friend, he just looked at me and said: “Come on! Don’t people flirt during these parties?”. “I think so”, I replied rather surprised with his lack of interest and my naiveté. I did notice that a couple of people “self-abducted” themselves for a few hours that night… I also made some new friends, who hosted some dinner parties and other events. But that night, I only had eyes for the stars of LaLa Land!
* The last 3 pictures were taken during this trip (including the starry sky).