The Universe Is Yours, for Free

The monthly Griffith Star Parties are set to start. Bonus? They're free.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013  |  Updated 6:09 PM PDT
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The Universe Is Yours, for Free

Getty Images

Griffith Observatory's free Public Star Parties are set to kick off a new year on Saturday, Jan. 19. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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There's no time of year when people aren't looking to save a little cash, and to suggest this is the case is a bit of financial frippery. But January tops all other months in this department, what with the holidays and the resolutions and tax day on approach.

But what's free, and always will be, is the universe. It seemingly sits above us but our planet is a small bauble in its incalculable net. Sure, it would cost, a lot, to be a space tourist, and certainly seeing a big-budget film about space people takes a few bucks.

Then there's Griffith Observatory, which is free, and which throws a pretty sweet sky-watcher of a party twelve times a year. This thing is free, too, and it brings out the smarties from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers, who delight in discussing nebula and galaxies a hundred parsecs away.

Think parsecs is merely a made-up word Han Solo pulls out in "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope"? It's so much more (though Mr. Solo does deliver it with characteristic suaveness).

There's a lot to learn above and all around us, in short, and the free Public Star Parties is a fine way to do it. First one's up on Saturday, Jan. 19, and there's one a month for the rest of 2013.

Things get telescopin' early in the afternoon, at 2 p.m., and stretch to nearly 10 p.m. And here's where we pause and sigh and think of the observatory lit up at night. No wonder they want to put that joint in so many movies. It's practically a movie made real, poetry on the hill, and a star here on earth.

Griffith Observatory, you make us type flouncy words against our better judgment.

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