Alya Mehrtash staff writer
Ava Seccuro co-editor-in-chief
The remnants of smoke and fog from the recent California fires posed no problem for the members of the Space and Physics Club, who spent a night together at the Griffith Observatory, observing and discussing the celestial bodies they saw in the sky that night.
Members of the Space and Physics Club meet weekly to discuss space and physics, conduct experiments and organize club-related events outside of school, such as the Griffith Observatory Star Night on Nov. 2.
Some club members, including junior Ben Maizes, spent some of their time during the Griffith Observatory Star Night simply watching the city lights shimmer beneath them in awe. It was hard to stand among the students without hearing some remark of amazement over the view.
“It was breathtaking. I was legitimately speechless. Seeing the whole city sprawled out in front of me was honestly empowering. It felt like I had the city in the palm of my hand,” Maizes said.
Aside from admiring the view of the city, students spent their night looking at planets through professional telescopes, exploring the observatory’s exhibits and looking at the night sky. But for junior Natasha Melamed, one of the most unforgettable aspects of the night was experiencing it with her friends.
“I think it’s really cool because you get to enjoy this with each other. It’s something really beautiful,” she said. “It’s just such a unique opportunity to be here and look at the stars and all the planets, because you don’t really get to see this where we live.”
The event also became a clear indicator of members’ genuine interest in the club for president junior Nick Walker.
“As the students lined up to look through various telescopes that were targeting Saturn and the moon, it became apparent that they were truly intrigued and curious. They were not attending these events to mention on a college application, they came out of pure interest,” Walker said. “I’m confident that each student experienced a similar feeling of awe.”
View the interactive slider above to see what the night sky looked like at the exact time and location in which the picture of the observatory was taken.
The Space and Physics Club is currently in its first year of establishment, and the Griffith Star Night, to Walker, has been the peak of the club’s success thus far.
“It really felt like a triumph. Upon founding the club, I was convinced that space and astronomy would only cater to a small group of students. I was genuinely surprised when twelve members showed up to our first meeting a few months ago,” Walker said. “As the club ran its course, more people began taking interest, and I think this culminated at the Griffith Star Night, to which around twenty showed up. Everyone was enjoying themselves while looking through the telescopes, talking among friends, and gazing at the night sky, and this is what I think is the goal of the club.”
Maizes has attested to the success of the club, as well, through his personal experiences and satisfaction.
“It has been great, I am really glad that I am doing it. I feel like it has almost created a community of people that are passionate about what we do, but also excited to spend time with each other,” Maizes said.
Walker and many other club members were happy with the outcome of the event, and look forward to the future of the club. They are currently working on organizing multiple events, such as a tour of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as a possible private tour of the facilities at Carnegie Observatories.
“I would call the Star Night a complete success. Although we have had a few other astronomy-related events, this one had shown not only the greatest attendance, but also the most captivation,” Walker said. “It went smoothly, everyone had a great time, and I felt fantastic about being able to have my peers and friends enjoy themselves and the night sky.”
Watch the video above to see pictures from the event.