From Ancient Skies to Modern Telescopes: A Conversation with Griffith Observatory's Director

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This Week in Space recently featured a fascinating interview with Dr. Ed Krupp, the longtime director of the iconic Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. For over four decades, Dr. Krupp has bridged the realms of research astronomy and public outreach from his post at this monument to the wonders of the cosmos. He shared insights into Griffith Observatory's rich history, his pioneering work in archaeoastronomy, and exciting future projects.

Dr. Krupp explained how Griffith Observatory has cultivated close ties with Hollywood over the years, serving as a filming location for classic movies like Rebel Without a Cause and La La Land. He mused that the Observatory probably deserves its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at this point, thanks to its cameos on the silver screen.

The conversation then turned to Dr. Krupp's fascination with archaeoastronomy - studying how ancient cultures related to celestial objects and wove astronomical references into their monuments and traditions. He described formative experiences traveling the world to decode sites like Stonehenge and temple murals covered in symbolic stellar imagery. This niche field blends astronomy with archaeology, anthropology, art history, and more to uncover how the heavens impacted our ancestors.

Looking ahead, Dr. Krupp highlighted an event in 2024 tied to an alignment in the moon's orbit that happens every 18.6 years. Griffith Observatory has an array of projects in store, from a giant new sculpture installation to livestream events broadcast from key lunar alignment sites around the world. He hopes to bring some of these ancient astronomical phenomena to modern audiences through innovative programming.

It was evident throughout the interview that Dr. Krupp remains as passionate as ever about bringing astronomy to the people through his post at Griffith Observatory. He's helped make this Los Angeles landmark an accessible gateway to the cosmos for all. This conversation provided an extraordinary glimpse into the Observatory's storied past and exciting future pursuits.

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