Opposites attract for one spectacular view on Sunday, September 27th when the sun and the moon tango in the sky for a rare total lunar eclipse. Grab some blankets and hot chocolate and take your little Galileos out for an unforgettable view of the night sky. Check out our suggestions of best places to sneak a peek at this “sheer lunar-cy” with or without telescopes.

Family Fun Griffithphoto credit: Kolleen G. via Yelp

Stargazers Unite
Griffith Observatory
The popular Observatory will be hosting a free Lunar Eclipse Presentation on Sunday, September 27 with astronomy staff members explaining the phases of the eclipse to the crowd as they happen. The event will run from 6:30-9:45 p.m. and if a beautiful night under the stars isn’t enough, the Observatory will also have a pianist at a grand piano playing “moon themed music.” (Moonlight Sonata, anyone?) Take note, however, that parking is limited at the Observatory itself and the winding side street has been known to cause quite the traffic jam on popular nights, especially if there is a concert at the Greek Theatre. We suggest arriving quite early for a prime viewing spot and stress free parking or take the Metro Red Line (Sunset/Vermont) and the DASH Observatory Weekend Shuttle; they’re expecting an enormous crowd and parking will be challenging. If you can’t make it to the Observatory but still want to partake in the commentary, they’ll be live streaming the lunar eclipse on Griffith TV via their website.

2800 East Observatory Rd.
Griffith Park
213-473-0800
Online: griffithobs.org

Santa Monica Mountains Starsphoto credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Rec Area Facebook Page

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Head up to the Santa Monica Mountains and join Focus Astronomy for a special lunar eclipse viewing party. They provide the telescopes, you provide the inquiring minds. Telescopes will be available for viewing and photographing the eclipse until 10 p.m. When the sun sets they’ll train the telescopes to the moon as it rises over the hills. This free event is from 5-10 p.m. Contact the Visitor Center for more information at 805-370-2301.

Rancho Sierra Vista
4121 Potrero Rd.
Newbury Park
805-370-2301
Online: nps.gov/findapark/event-listing.htm?eventID=27035

Santa Monica Sidewalk Astronomersphoto credit: Dennis E. via Santa Monica Sidewalk Astronomers Website


Take to the Streets

Santa Monica Sidewalk Astronomers
Look for these star guides on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. They’ll have their telescopes set up for your galactic crew to view. And if your pint-size Copernicus catches the astronomy bug then Barnes and Noble is nearby for all of your star-reading needs. Or drive a little further up the boardwalk to Venice Beach where you’ll find more Sidewalk Astronomers near the Rose Avenue outfall. Either way, you can’t beat a starry sky over crashing waves.
Online: nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/club-view.cfm?Club_ID=700


Burbank Sidewalk Astronomers
You can find some of the Burbank Sidewalk Astronomers set up at the Asia Pacific Museum in Pasadena where they’ll provide telescopes for the public. Keep an eye on their website for details and updates.
Online: home.earthlink.net/~sidewalkastronomers/index.html


LA Sidewalk Astronomers
Take the metro to the North Hollywood stop and enjoy people watching and star gazing alike. The LA Sidewalk crew will be set up near the NoHo Metro station.
Online: nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/club-view.cfm?Club_ID=1224

Party in Your Backyard
The sky should be clear enough on the 27th to enjoy the eclipse from the comfort of your own backyard—even without a telescope. Here’s an approximate time frame for Los Angeles of what to expect from the cosmos:

6:45pm: Moon rises (Moon in partial eclipse)
7:11pm: Totality begins (Moon is totally covered in shadow)
7:47pm: Maximum eclipse
8:23pm: Totality ends (Moon emerges from shadow)
9:27pm: Umbral eclipse ends

Lunar Eclipsephoto credit: NASA Moon Images Flickr album/Bob Gent

Party in the Forest
Worried about getting a clear view of the sky from your personal city scape? Pack your binoculars and try one of these LA starry views for a cosmic retreat.  All are spectacular star watching spots on this or any night.

  1. Templin Highway, Angeles National Forest
  2. Saddleback Butte State Park, Antelope Valley
  3. Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, Antelope Valley
  4. Topanga State Park, Santa Monica Mountains
  5. Malibu Creek State Park, Santa Monica Mountains
  6. Mount Wilson, Angeles National Forest
  7. Frazier Park & Mount Pinos, Los Padres National Forest

Don’t see your favorite star gazing spot listed above? Share it with us in the comments!

—Andrea Conway Kagey