Homer's Travels: The Most Looked Through Telescope in the WORLD!

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Most Looked Through Telescope in the WORLD!

Today we set off to see Griffith Observatory. Traffic was a little heavier then I expected and we arrived only 10 minutes before our shuttle bus appointment (Since reopening last week, the only way to get to the Observatory is by shuttle bus and only by appointment). We arrived at the observatory and, passing by the monument to the Astronomers, headed for the ticket line. The line to the planetarium show ticket counter was already long. We overheard a guide asking another if they knew about the automated ticket machine on the second floor. I hustled down and ended up first in line to the automated ticket machine. Less then a minute later we had our tickets.

Since it was noon, we decided to have lunch first at Wolfgang Puck's Cafe at the End of the Universe. This is a play on Douglas Adams' book Restaurant at the End of the Universe. We ordered a couple roast beast sandwiches, chips, sodas, and some sweets for desert - $29.15. I little on the steep side but the sandwich was made on a gourmet roll and there was a substantial pile of roast beef - almost worth it.
After the lunch we moved on to the exhibits. Everything is well done. The exhibits covered the history of Astronomy, our current knowledge of the Solar System, and the current state of the Universe. Most of the exhibits are aimed at the younger set so we walked through it fairly quickly. The top floor was the original planetarium. The ceiling in the central rotunda features murals that have been restore and a Foucault pendulum proving the rotation of the Earth (I was starting to doubt this rotation nonsense but the pendulum set me straight).

In the new section, we saw a movie at the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater. The movie shows the history of the Observatory and the $93 Million renovation. The audience gasped when the movie said that the entire building was lifted up using hydraulic lifts so that the workers could add the second and third floors under the original observatory. Very impressive engineering.

The observatory has been used for several movies - both good and bad - over the years. One of the most famous, and marked by a memorial, is Rebel Without A Cause. Note the Hollywood sign in the background.

After exploring the new section we headed for the Samuel Oschin planetarium show. The show was a typical astronomy history show. Very well executed but nothing I hadn't seen before.The last thing we did was go up to the roof to see the telescope. Since it was daytime it wasn't active but it was still impressive. It is the most looked through telescope in the world. We plan to return some evening so we can look through it. I am sure the LA lights will be impressive as well.

After a stop at the Stellar Emporium for a magnet, we headed home. I had a good time. What will we do next? Stay tuned and find out.

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