SOURCE: Friends Of The Observatory

Friends Of The Observatory

March 18, 2010 11:00 ET

Friends Of The Observatory Presents Diamond Nights * Northern Lights Celebrating the Griffith Observatory's 75th Birthday on Saturday, May 15

Event Premieres New Light of the Valkyries Planetarium Show With Music by Richard Wagner and Live Narration by Celebrity Guest Performers; Event Also Launches the Observatory's Participation in LA Opera's Ring Festival LA

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - March 18, 2010) -  Friends Of The Observatory (FOTO) will present Cosmic Conjunction 2010: Diamond Nights * Northern Lights, a festive event celebrating Griffith Observatory's 75th birthday on Saturday, May 15, from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m., P.D.T. The evening marks the premiere of a spectacular new planetarium show, Light of the Valkyries, featuring the music of Richard Wagner with live narration by surprise celebrity performers.

Cosmic Conjunction 2010: Diamond Nights * Northern Lights celebrates Griffith Observatory's iconic stature in Los Angeles for 75 years with an exclusive birthday party that will bathe the building in shimmering northern lights on the outside while Light of the Valkyries, a new all-dome planetarium show set to the dramatic music of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, premieres live in the state-of-the-art Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The Observatory joins more than 100 Los Angeles cultural and educational institutions to commemorate the performances in a series of events known as Ring Festival LA.

Proceeds from Cosmic Conjunction 2010, Griffith Observatory's second annual signature event connecting astronomy and the arts, fund an educational program that brings thousands of school children to the Observatory to make the connection with astronomy through the arts of music and imaginative storytelling.

"For 75 years Griffith Observatory has put visitors 'eyeball to the universe' and made millions at home in the cosmos," says Dr. E.C. Krupp, Director, Griffith Observatory. "Now, on the edge of infinity and beyond, Griffith Observatory endures as a treasured part of the city's history and future. We are delighted to join so many other stars in the cultural firmament of Los Angeles and celebrate Ring Festival LA with the solar-system premiere of Light of the Valkyries, in which Nordic skies, the northern lights, and Wagner's Ring opera music meet in cosmic conjunction."

"On the outside, Griffith Observatory's iconic architecture will be transformed into a curtain of moving and changing northern lights," Krupp continues, "while inside audiences will be transported to Valhalla, to the heart of the sun, and to the poles of the earth through Wagner's music and the age-old myths it embraces. This is a spectacular, memorable, and gratifying way to acknowledge 75 years of public astronomy at Griffith Observatory, and we are indebted to Friends Of The Observatory for helping to make it happen."

"Friends Of The Observatory (FOTO) is proud to present Cosmic Conjunction 2010: Diamond Nights * Northern Lights, our second annual program bringing together astronomy and the arts," says Camille Lombardo, Executive Director, FOTO. "Audiences cannot help but be inspired by the amazing world of scientific exploration in Light of the Valkyries. This kind of event epitomizes FOTO's mission to serve the community and stimulate imagination and curiosity about astronomy."

"Celebrating the Griffith Observatory's 75th birthday with Light of the Valkyries and joining Ring Festival LA is precisely what FOTO is all about," says David Primes, President of the Board of Friends Of The Observatory. "Our goal is to foster a lifelong connection between the Observatory and the larger community it serves. We invite everyone to come and experience this resource that is so important to the cultural fabric of Los Angeles."

Information regarding ticket reservations and sponsorship opportunities is available online at FOTO's Web site,, via telephone (213/473-0807), or email ( Net proceeds from the Cosmic Conjunction 2010 go to support FOTO's efforts to provide educational opportunities at Griffith Observatory and in the community. 

Griffith Observatory is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks. The Observatory is located on the slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. The building is open to the public six days a week, with free parking and free admission. Free public telescope viewing is available every evening the Observatory is open and the sky is clear.

Friends Of The Observatory (FOTO) is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) membership organization established in 1978 to support and promote Griffith Observatory. As a community support group, FOTO offers numerous benefits to members and assists in the development of the Observatory, so that it continues to inform and inspire its countless visitors and remains one of the most internationally recognizable icons of Los Angeles.

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