Friday, October 02, 2009

Star watching in LA

Smog over LA. To be fair, there are fires in the region and actual fog near the coast, so it looks worse than it is.

I posted about this on my French blogalready, but here it is again in English…

We visited the Griffiths Observatory this past weekend, as part of a massive tour of the city organized by a colleague of Amynah’s. The Observatory is a fascinating place: it was built in the 1930s as a “public observatory” – that is, one not to be monopolized by scientists, but rather by amateurs keen to discover the wonders of the galaxy themselves.

Hollywood sign, as seen from the Observatory

It is still used as such. The night we showed up, the lawn in front of the facility was crowded with amateurs with their own telescopes, some of whom were there with their expensive devices solely in order that visiting children could peep into the cosmos.

We weren’t there for the science (though I was sorely tempted to check out the film in the Leonard Nimoy Theater) but rather for the view of the city.

One very, very, small part of Los Angeles, as seen from the mountains

The sun sets quickly, and early this far south, so we were able, in the course of half an hour, to sip our drinks while watching the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles skulk in and out of the thick smog, witness a tremendous sunset, and then watch the streets emerge from the gloom with their endless strings of lights.

No comments: