Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory
Author(s): Jane Pafundi
Field Trip - Teacher's Guide
SED 695B

Griffith Observatory



Official Site: Griffith Observatory

Topics addressed

  • Telescopes

  • Sun; Stars; Elements

  • Moons; Tides; Seasons; Eclipses

  • Planets; Asteroids; Comets; Meteors




Description of Field Trip

The Griffith Observatory is a museum, planetarium and observatory. The museum exhibits describe what is known about space, the planets, the sun, stars etc. The planetarium offers laser shows through a digital laser projector about our place in the universe and other special presentations. On a clear night free public telescopes are available to observe the sky.


Grade 8 

Earth in the Solar System (Earth Sciences)

  1. The structure and composition of the universe can be learned from studying stars and galaxies and their evolution. As a basis for understanding this concept:  
    1. Students know galaxies are clusters of billions of stars and may have different shapes.
    2. Students know that the Sun is one of many stars in the Milky Way galaxy and that stars may differ in size, temperature, and color.
    3. Students know how to use astronomical units and light years as measures of distances between the Sun, stars, and Earth.
    4. Students know that stars are the source of light for all bright objects in outer space and that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight, not by their own light.
    5. Students know the appearance, general composition, relative position and size, and motion of objects in the solar system, including planets, planetary satellites, comets, and asteroids.



Study Guide:

 Download and print the study guide listed below. Complete it during your visit to the Griffith Observatory.

Activities not to miss:

  • On the front lawn be sure to walk the orbits of the planets.
  • View the elements of the periodic table.
  • Make your own earthquake to register on the seismograph.
  • View the largest astronomical image ever produced.
  • Check out a real moon rock brought back by Apollo 14.
  • Take your picture with Einstein.
  • Observe live views of the sun through solar telescopes (daytime).
  • View the night sky through the 12 inch Zeiss telescope (nighttime)  


References & Links:

Griffith Observatory -



Norman Herr,
Oct 24, 2009, 7:01 PM