Saturday, April 08, 2017

Lights of the Valkyries

We visited the Griffith Observatory of the city of Los Angeles on mount Hollywood near the Hollywood sign. You can climb up the Hollywood sign, which takes about 1 hour, but you can see it clearly from the observatory as shown in this picture. What we liked most was the live show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The show was called "Light of the Valkyries" which took us on a voyage of Viking cosmology and explored the true nature of the aurora borealis - the northern lights. We explored the source of the northern lights (the Sun) in a cosmic light show set to one of the most iconic pieces of music of all time, Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. We learnt how in the northern arctic (and the southern arctic) there are days when the sun never sets, but moves across the sky near the horizon in a full circle that starts from the north and ends also at the north. There are other days when the sun never rises leaving the arctic north in creepy darkness for months.
There were telescopes outside set up for free viewing. We looked at the moon magnified 130 times and we looked at the city of Los Angeles. The telescope's power enabled us to see street signs from above mount Hollywood many miles down the city. There are hiking trails also that one can take you down to the park along the way to the city of Los Angeles, but this is best done in the weekend because the park closes by sunset. One of the items displayed inside the observatory building is Tesla's coil that Nicola Tesla built in 1891. It is an electrical resonant transformer circuit used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high frequency sparks, and was used in the Frankenstein movie. There is other exciting information inside so go visit the observatory if you can, you will enjoy the information inside, and the fantastic views of the city of Los Angeles and the Hollywood mount, but above all visiting the Planetarium is a must. Admission to the observatory is free and there is free parking outside, however the planetarium ticket costs a mere $7 per adult.

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