Public Telescopes

Colonel Griffith J. Griffith left funds in his will to build a public observatory in Los Angeles because he believed in the transformative power of observation. After looking through the research telescope at Mt. Wilson he said: “If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world!” Since opening in 1935, Griffith Observatory has fulfilled his vision by offering public telescope viewing through the historic Zeiss telescope, historic coelostat (solar telescope), and portable telescopes on the lawn. More people have looked though the Zeiss telescope than any telescope in human history. More people have viewed the filtered disk of the Sun on the Observatory coelostat than any solar telescope on Earth.

Free public telescopes are available each evening the Observatory is open and skies are clear. Knowledgeable telescope demonstrators are available to guide visitors in observing. Please be aware that the demonstrators must cut off the line for each telescope to enable all viewing to be completed by 9:45 p.m. Hours for telescope operation are not the same as for the building (which closes at 10:00 p.m.)

Visitors are requested not to touch the telescopes or use flash photography. Both disrupt the observing experience.

One Saturday a month, the Observatory hosts a public star party.

To learn about what you can see in the night sky over Southern California, check our weekly Sky Report.

Griffith Observatory does not permit the operation of private, unauthorized telescopes on its grounds, for either public or private use. The Observatory is responsible for the public safety of its visitors and for the accuracy of any information provided in an astronomical and public setting. Allowing deployment of private telescopes on the grounds implies endorsement of both the instruments and the operators, neither of which the Observatory is capable of verifying.

Lawn Telescope