Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium

Private Tour Information

Reservations for private tours are made by appointment only.  Please e-mail holcombobservatory@butler.edu if you are interested in scheduling a private tour.  For information purposes, the Observatory will be closed for private tours due to Spring Break from 3/6 through 3/14.  Private tours can be scheduled again beginning 3/17.


Private Tours and Fees

Private group tours can be scheduled at selected weekday times.  A student to adult ratio of 10:1 is required for all private group visits to maintain quietness during the tour. The cost is $2.00 per person with a minimum of cost $50. Only cash or check is accepted at the Observatory.     Private tours are limited to 35 guests in the planetarium. For patron information there are 3 sets of steps to the telescope and no elevator.  Reservations are required for all private group visits. If you are interested in scheduling a private tour please contact the observatory by e-mail at holcombobservatory@butler.edu .

What to Expect

Visitors will enjoy an hour-long tour consisting of a presentation covering the current night sky, a seasonal star show, with explanations of the symbols on the terrazo lobby floor and the stair railing, along with a visit to telescope dome. In the telescope dome the guide will explain and demonstrate the operation of the Holcomb Telescope. During nighttime tours (if weather permits) we will offer telescope viewing. 

During most of 2013 through part of 2015 the main telescope will be undergoing a $325,000 refurbishment.  For night time tours (if weather permits) we will still have telescope viewing as usual.  A portable telescope will be used for viewing of planets, the Moon, and stars.  For more information visit the upgrades tab on the lower left.

Preparing for the Tour

To prepare for the tour we suggest you look at other information on our web site. To learn about the telescopes look at the telescopes and instruments links. Planets are usually included in the planetarium presentation. To learn more about the planets visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website. To prepare yourself for a the planetarium star show it is suggested that you look and the star chart and current night sky links.

More Information

Tour reservations will be held up to 20 minutes after your prescheduled tour time (your tour will be shortened if another tour is schedule after you). Following that your reservation is subject to cancellation and you will be charged a service fee of $25. per tour. If the need arises and you must cancel your tour reservation, please e-mail holcombobservatory@butler.edu at least two business days in advance to avoid the service fee. Returned checks will be charged a service fee of $20. Group leaders should collect the appropriate admission fee from the group members in advance. Payment can be made either by cash or a check made out to J. I. Holcomb Observatory. The cash or check should be given to the planetarium personnel upon entry. It is recommended that you arrive 10 minutes before your tour so that you may be seated.

Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium is located on the north end of the Butler University campus and can be reached by heading west on 46th Street from N. Meridian Street and then turning north once at the center of campus. Download the campus map (PDF).   Visitor parking is available on campus.  See parking map (PDF)

Wheelchair accessibility is available in the Planetarium and Lobby area only. No elevator is available to the dome where the 38-inch telescope is located.