A Free Star Party Is Set to Shimmer at Mt. Wilson Observatory

Head up, up, up to the sky-high landmark for a cosmic gathering, a pay-nothing party that has its sights set on the wonders of space.

Jeff Dai/Stocktrek Images

What to Know

  • Saturday, Sept. 24, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Volunteers will arrive with their own private telescopes for the public to enjoy; you may spy Jupiter, Neptune, and other far-off favorites
  • Free entry; donations are welcome and will be used to support the observatory

PRICE TAGS ON PLANETS? You'd be hard-pressed to find an oversized sticker affixed to the side of Saturn or a label displaying some colossal cosmic cost glued to Neptune. For savoring the sight of the Solar System's superstars? It's long been one of the freest of pleasures for astronomically minded earthlings, an uplifting act that could be performed by stepping outside on a bright and unhazy night. Of course, our home turf's nearest neighbors are usually dazzling dots in the vast firmament, and locating an event that allows you to view these behemoths in a crisper and clearer fashion does often involve, yes, a price tag. That's understandable, for supporting local telescope clubs and august planetariums is a very nice thing to do, as nice as the moving moment when you see a pretty planet while peering through a powerful telescope. But sometimes? A free Earth-based gathering twinkles on the horizon, giving astronomy aficionados the chance to gaze through some fab scopes in a gratis fashion.

MT. WILSON OBSERVATORY... will be the sparkly site for a complimentary Star Party on Saturday evening, Sept. 24. Look for a vivacious group of volunteers to be toting their own telescopes, and plan on seeing some of the biggies of our small slice of space, including "Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, numerous star clusters, & various galaxies" (these wonders "may be visible," of course, depending on the weather and such). The Los Angeles Astronomical Society is behind this look-up-in-awe event, a happening that is also doubling as a fundraiser for the venerable observatory. So, yes, while admission is free, and you'll want to register in advance, donations are welcome. And the money raised? It will help one of this planet's best sky-watching sites continue its cosmic mission.

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