GRIFFITH PARK—The Griffith Observatory plans to give science enthusiasts and planet lovers an optimal view of the planet of Mars.

On Monday, July 30, the establishment will host a free viewing where visitors can see the red planet in its closest approach to Earth since 2003. The 35.8 million-mile distance will be the planet’s closest distance until September 2035. The event celebrating the astronomical occurrence will start at 10 p.m. Monday and end 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Participants are urged to arrived at the Griffith Observatory before gates close at midnight where around 12:45 a.m. Mars will be closet to Earth.

Visitors can view the red planet with and without the use of telescopes. Mars will appear on the Southern sky and will look bright. Unlike an eclipse, Mars will not change in appearance during the course of the evening, notes the Griffith Observatory on its website.

Attendees are advised to:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for walking uphill (up to 1.5 miles); bring water.
  • Please do not bring blankets, chairs, coolers, tripods, furniture or similar items. There will not be room on the lawn, because it will be filled with telescopes!
  • Please do not bring personal telescopes.
  • Expect very large crowds, traffic delays, limited parking, and road/park closures.