Looking Into Observatories & Planetariums in Southern California


Observatories & planetariums are popular during the summer months, but they are also open during our moderate fall and winter. AND there are actually two in the San Fernando Valley!

While there are some residents in the area who have a powerful telescope they are not available for the public to access. There are three options.  

  • A shared online access 
  • Public planetariums in the San Fernando Valley
  • Griffith & Mt Wilson observatories.

A planetarium is a ‘sky theater’ where the simulation of the night sky is portrayed on a dome ceiling. 

An observatory has telescopes to view the night sky within an unmovable dome.  

Shared Access

Join the Pierce College Science Dome Club on Slooh!

What is Slooh?  Slooh is a system of robotically controlled telescopes in the Canary Islands and Chile. If you join our Pierce College Science Dome Club and Slooh, YOU will have access to these telescopes! Things you will be able to do on Slooh

Los Angeles Valley College Astronomy Group

Events include

  • Planetarium Shows (utilizing Los Angeles Valley College's Astronomy Department's planetarium featuring the Spitz™ SciDome projector),
  • Star parties (at various "dark sky" locations near Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley, contact the hotline),
  • Group Meetings - see the flyer for the dates and times.

Pierce College   Science Dome - Public Shows 

  • Pierce College students: FREE
  • General admission (ages 3+): $8
  • Tickets can be purchased in advance online or with cash or card at the door. Seating is limited.

Fall 2022 Show Schedule

  • Fridays: 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 1 p.m., 2:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.

Valley College 

24 foot dome - 45 seats
Spitz SciDome color computer graphic star projector installed 2005

Valley College brings the cosmos to life in public Planetarium shows (thevalleystarnews.com)

Los Angeles Valley College Astro (lavcastrogroup.org)

Further away is

Mount Wilson

Griffith Park: 

The oldest observatory in California is the Griffith Observatory. It was established based on the directions of distribution of funds by Griffith J. Griffith in his will in 1919. He specified the purpose, features, and location of the observatory. It has been said that the Planetarium designed by Griffith was the first of its kind in the United States. 

The oldest public observatory in the United State is the Cincinnati Observatory. Construction of the building began in 1843.  The Merz und Mahler 11 inch refractor was housed in the "Mitchel Building" in 1845.

California Planetariums to See (seecalifornia.com)

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