29_35x90 knx_35x90
CBSLA WEATHER APP: iPhone App Store | Android App Coming Soon | More Info | Watch Josh's Live Demo

Latest Best of LA

Best Places For Stargazing In Los Angeles

August 3, 2013 6:00 AM

View Comments
(credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

With the Perseid meteor shower once again hurtling through the heavens towards planet Earth, here our top picks for the best places to get a view of this annual spectacle along with a raft of additional astronomical recommendations for stargazing outings in the Los Angeles area.

(credit: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images)

(credit: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images)

Griffith Park Observatory

2800 E. Observatory Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800
www.griffithobs.org

The creation of the stunning ‘30s era art deco-style Griffith Park Observatory in Rancho Los Felis fulfilled G.J. Griffith’s dream of providing an astronomical telescope that was open to free public viewing. Today, the observatory continues that tradition by providing free public telescopes and staging monthly star parties (2 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.) with assistance from members of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers and The Planetary Society (check website event calendar). Members of the public can test drive a variety of telescopes and enjoy an up-close look at a variety of astronomical objects in Earth’s solar system and the galaxies far beyond.

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Joshua Tree National Park

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 367-5500
www.nps.gov/jotr

Astronomers heading to Joshua Tree National Park will benefit from the park’s high desert elevation coupled with a clear night sky that remains largely unpolluted by city lights, the bane of successful astronomical observations. This fact has long been recognized by the National Park Service who offer visitors to the 790,636-acre national park a variety of ranger-lead night sky programs at both the Oasis Visitor Center and at the Cottonwood Campground (check website for times and location). At 3,000 feet, ASL Cottonwood — a 62-site tent and RV campground with fresh water, flush toilets and a dump station — provides the perfect venue to watch the meteors streaking across the night sky.

(credit: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

Big Bear Solar Observatory

40386 North Shore Lane
Big Bear City, CA 92314
(909) 866-5791
www.bbso.njit.edu

At 6,760 feet above sea level, Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains provides exceptional viewing conditions for both amateur and professional astronomical observers. Not only is the reservoir home to the New Jersey Institute of Technology solar telescope, currently the largest clear aperture solar telescope in the world, but the YMCA Camp Oakes (just outside the City of Big Bear) also plays host to the RTMC Astronomy Expo (formerly the Riverside Telescope Makers Conference). Grab a flashlight, star chart, planisphere and a pair of binoculars and head over to Pine Knot Campground on Sugarloaf Mountain to get a spectacular overnight view of the Perseids.

Related:  Best Places For Off-Roading Near Los Angeles

(credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Mount Wilson Observatory

466 Foothill Blvd., #327
La Cañada, CA 91011
(626) 440-9016
www.mtwilson.edu

Built in 1908 by George Ellery Hale at an altitude of 5,700 feet, the Mount Wilson Observatory’s 60-inch centagenarian telescope is currently operated on behalf of the Carnegie Institution of Washington by the Mount Wilson Institute. Members of the public can book a half-night ($900) or full-night’s ($1700) use of the MWO 60-inch telescope for groups of up to 25 people ($68 per head for a full group for the entire evening). The observatory is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and offers self-guided and two-hour docent guided walking tours (weekends only April-November) of the museum, solar towers and telescopes. Camp out on the mountain for an unparalleled view of the Perseids shower as meteors hurtle past planet Earth.

(credit: Michael THURSTON/AFP/GettyImages)

(credit: Michael THURSTON/AFP/GettyImages)

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Village, CA 95389
(209) 372-0200
www.nps.gov/yose

Visit this picturesque valley in California’s Sierra Nevada and enjoy a grandstand view of the heavens from Glacier Point, a mountain plateau at an elevation of 7,214 feet some 3,200 feet above the valley floor. Located miles from any major light source, Yosemite Valley is blessed with an extremely dark night sky that allows for unsurpassed views of the constellations and, of course, the flaming tails of the meteors as they blaze overhead. The park, along with the Kennedy Meadows further to the north, is a favorite haunt of astronomers and astrophotographers in the summer months with Glacier Point playing host to public “star parties” on a regular basis. Check out the NPS website for additional information on ranger-guided astronomy walks in Yosemite National Park.

Related: Best Holiday Escapes Near Los Angeles

Julian Gothard is an internationally published freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. You can check out his popular RVing and travel column at Examiner.com.
View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus