MiniMac Visits The Griffith Observatory

 

Used as MacGyver’s home in the original pilot episode and then seen again in the reboot series, no locations tour would be complete without visiting this iconic LA landmark. Perched atop the Santa Monica ranges looking out over north Los Angeles the observatory is an impressive sight to behold both from afar and up close.

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The observatory is surrounded by the Griffith Natural Park which covers over 4,210 acres of wilderness segmented with a number of roads and hiking trails which we choose to use to get a full appreciation for the area. The park is also home to the Merry-go-round seen in ‘Every Time She Smiles’ and the LA Zoo is seen in season two’s ‘For Love Or Money’ episode – both are located quite a long way from the observatory though at the other end of the park.

Upon arriving at the observatory we’re greeted with the Astronomers Monument and sundial. The monument has sculptures of the 6 great astronomers, Hipparchus, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and John Herschel. On top of the monument is an Armillary sphere which prior to the invention of the telescope, was the main instrument used by astronomers to determine celestial position. In front of the monument is an equatorial sundial which is accurately mounted in a north-south direction and pointed to the north pole of the sky. The monument and sundial were the only things left intact during the excavation to create the new underground expansion in 2002.

The 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope we see MacGyver using at the start of the episode is located in the left doom (looking from the front) and is actually 2 telescopes. A 9½-inch was piggybacked to the 12-inch in 1955 for better observation use. The other dome houses the Coelostat and solar telescopes for viewing sun activity on clear days.

The living area we see at the end of the episode doesn’t exist inside the observatory, that was a sound stage at Paramount studios. All available areas inside the observatory are used for presentations and information about all things Astronomical, including an underground level which was added in 2002 to house the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater along with an extensive exhibit hall which includes meteorite displays – where you can actually touch the meteorites, a scaled model of our solar system with the planets all in relative dimensions to the circular Leonard Nimoy Theater which substitutes the sun in the model. The back wall of the entire hall is covered in a 152 foot long, 20 feet tall high quality image of the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies.

View the gallery below as a virtual tour around both outside and inside MacGyver’s first and most famous home.   
 

 

  

GALLERY:

Photos  by: KiwiTek & DashboardOnFire

The observatory is surrounded by the Griffith Natural Park which covers over 4,210 acres of wilderness and has a number of different hiking trails and roads leading to the Observatory.The observatory observatory is an impressive sight to behold both from afar and up close.The lawn where Gantner talks to MacGyver in the pilot episode was dug up in 2002 to allow for the construction of the new underground extensions. It was of course relaid once the upgrades were completed.Monday is the only day the observatory allows filming or special events to take place due to this being the only day they are closed to the public, however the park is still open meaning filming can draw crowds of spectators.
This can be seen in the helicopter landing scene of MacGyver. If you look in the top left corner you can see a large crowd being held back out of the way while the scene is filmed.There are a number of coin operated binoculars positioned around the roof top to allow visitors to better enjoy the panoramic views of Los Angeles.The rooftop from which MacGyver watched Gant's helicopter land in the Pilot episode is open to public access via the outside stairways on either end of the building.The Griffith Park has a number of different hiking trails leading to and from the Observatory.The trails leading to the observatory provide ample opportunities for stunning views of Los Angeles.The trails leading to the observatory provide ample opportunities for stunning views of Los Angeles.The trails leading to the observatory provide ample opportunities for stunning views of Los Angeles.The trails which lead through the Griffith park and up to the observatory all provide great views of LA and surrounding areas.The entire front lawn was excavated in 2002 to enable construction of the underground extensions.The monument has sculptures of the 6 great astronomers, Hipparchus, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton and John Herschel. On top of the monument is an Armillary sphere which prior to the invention of the telescope, was the main instrument used by astronomers to determine celestial position.In front of the Monument is a equatorial sundial accurately mounted in a north-south direction with a wire running through the center of it which is parallel to the Earth's axis. The angle it makes with the horizon is 34 degrees, which is equal to the latitude of Los Angeles.The west side of the lawn provides a great spot to see the ever present Hollywood sign.The west side of the lawn provides a great spot to see the ever present Hollywood sign.The observatory and park is a really popular place for week-end outings with lots of people running and hiking at pace up and down the trails as well as families and groups visiting.The observatory and park is a popular place for week-end outings and leisure time.The trails through out the park are regular exercise routes for locals.The 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope we see MacGyver using at the start of the episode is located in the left doom (looking from the front) and is actually 2 telescopes. A 9½-inch was piggybacked to the 12-inch in 1955 for better observation use.The 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope we see MacGyver using at the start of the episode is located in the left doom (looking from the front) and is actually 2 telescopes. A 9½-inch was piggybacked to the 12-inch in 1955 for better observation use.The 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope we see MacGyver using at the start of the episode is located in the left doom (looking from the front) and is actually 2 telescopes. A 9½-inch was piggybacked to the 12-inch in 1955 for better observation use.Art work on the ceiling of the Central Rotunda  greets us as we walk through the main front doors.Art work on the ceiling of the Central Rotunda  greets us as we walk through the main front doors.Art work on the ceiling of the Central Rotunda  greets us as we walk through the main front doors.Art work on the ceiling of the Central Rotunda  greets us as we walk through the main front doors.The Foucault (foo-koh) Pendulum is located in the Central Rotunda of the Observatory. It recreates an 1851 demonstration by French physicist Jean Bernard Leon Focault that gave the first direct proof that Earth rotates on it's axis.This meteorite is open to the public to touch something from outer space.The exhibit hall is filled with displays The back wall of the entire hall is covered in a 152 foot long, 20 feet tall high quality image of the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies.The main exhibit hall contains a scale model of our solar system with the circular Lenard Nimoy theater playing the role  of the Sun and the planets are relative size to the diameter of the theater.
Each planet in the solar system display has it's own information kiosk filled with interesting facts as well as a scale you can stand on to see how much you would weigh on that planet.Each planet in the solar system display has it's own information kiosk filled with interesting facts as well as a scale you can stand on to see how much you would weigh on that planet.The planet models show ralative size to the sun which is played by the circular Leonard Nimoy theater located next to the planetsThis incredibly detailed rotating model of our moon sits in the corner entrance to the main hall and is complete with an actual rock sample brought back from the moon landingsMet this funny old guy in the main hall and got to talking a bit.. He was talking some kooky stuff about everything being relative and mass and energy being equal, or something... I listened along with him, but it was just crazy talk.... I have enough relatives already and I can tell you their mass does NOT equal their energy.These meteorites are on display for the public to touch.These meteorites are on display for the public to touch.The geology section looks at how the Earth is constructed and how the rotation affects the tectonic plates and surface.The geology section looks at how the Earth is constructed and how the rotation affects the tectonic plates and surface.The real working seismograph shows how earthquakes are recorded and includes a local reading for the room it's in so visitors can create their own "earthquakes" bu jumping and moving around in front of the recorder and watch how it responds.This exhibit follows the Earths yearly rotation in relation to the star constellations .This exhibit follows the Earths yearly rotation in relation to the star constellations .This video diagram shows the Sun's path as it travels over the observatory for each season of the year.GE DIGITAL CAMERAGE DIGITAL CAMERAGE DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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