LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles icon of public astronomy will celebrate its 80th anniversary Monday evening.
City officials and the public were expected to pay tribute to the Griffith Observatory with a champagne reception that will also honor the 40th year of Dr. E.C. Krupp’s leadership of the Observatory.
Sponsored by the nonprofit Friends Of The Observatory (FOTO), the event will feature a picnic on the observatory’s lawn, a few brief astronomy presentations, and the chance to vote on one of three themed cakes, each commemorating an iconic feature of Griffith Observatory, according to officials.
Since its founding by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith in 1935, the observatory has allowed more than 76 million people to observe the night sky from one of LA’s best stargazing sites on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park.
After 67 years of continuous operation, the observatory closed in 2002 for nearly five years of renovation and expansion for attractions like the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, which features one of the largest planetarium domes in the world, the popular 12-inch Zeiss telescope, and The Big Picture, which officials say is the largest astronomical photograph in the world.
While Griffith Observatory is owned and operated by the city Department of Recreation and Parks, longtime visitors and city officials alike often point to Krupp, the observatory’s 40-year veteran leader, as its heart and soul.
Krupp, who began his career at Griffith Observatory in 1970 as a part-time Planetarium Lecturer before working his way to Observatory Director in 1976, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO one of the challenges of observing the night sky above Los Angeles is the glimmering skyline.
“The Griffith Observatory has always been in an urban environment, but it was intended not as a research observatory, but as a public observatory,” Krupp said. “So we look at mostly the bright things and we’re really not affected that much by the light.”
In addition to offering amateur astronomers a closer look at the heavens, Griffith Observatory has also served as the backdrop for dozens of Hollywood productions from films including “Rebel Without a Cause”, “Terminator”, and “Jurassic Park” to television shows like “Glee”, “NCIS”, “24”, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Alias”, and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.
“Stellar Evolution: Honoring Griffith Observatory and Dr. E.C. Krupp,” will be held at the Observatory tonight from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Click here for more information.