Weekend Public Tours
Indiana’s premiere site for astronomy and space science education for more than 65 years.
This May our feature fulldome planetarium show will be Eclipse: The Sun Revealed focusing on the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse in Indiana in April 2024. This is followed by a star/constellation show highlighting the Story of Ursa Major and Minor (Big and Little Dipper), their mythology, our current evening sky, and where to find selected objects and planets in the sky. After the planetarium portion of the evening, visitors will have the opportunity to view the sky through Indiana’s largest telescope, weather permitting. Viewing through the telescope is always free.
- Tickets can be purchased in the lobby when our doors open at 8:00 PM.
- Admission for the planetarium show is $5 for children and students under 18, and $8 for adults. We accept cash or credit.
- The fulldome planetarium show and constellation/star show begin at 8:30 PM.
- Telescope viewing 9:30–10:30 PM, weather permitting.
- Due to the length and content of the weekend planetarium shows, ages 5 and older are recommended. For younger children, we highly recommend our more age-appropriate weekend matinees, which we periodically advertise.
- We have limited seating capacity, so if the first planetarium show fills up, we run a second and perhaps third planetarium show that night. If you are in the second planetarium show, then we reverse the order of the evening and get you started on telescope viewing immediately. This should result in very little delay in your visit.
- No food or drinks are allowed in the planetarium.
If a weekend tour doesn’t fit your schedule, consider scheduling a group tour for your group at another time.
Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium is located on the north end of the Butler University campus and can be reached by heading west on 46th or 49th Street from Meridian Street. Butler University Campus Map. Patrons can utilize our parking garage for a fee. Please note that there are three separate sets of steps totaling 66 up to the telescope. No elevator is available to the telescope viewing area. To request disability-related accommodations, please visit butler.edu/event-accommodations. Wheelchair accessibility is available in the lobby, planetarium, and restroom only. If needed we can bring out a portable telescope for viewing at ground level. If you may need this, please email us in advance.
From 2018 to early 2019, the planetarium underwent a $250,000 renovation. It had its old Spitz AP3 star projector replaced with a fulldome Digitarium Kappa projector that projects more that 4 million pixels onto the dome of the planetarium which gives visitors a fully immersive 3D experience in addition to nicely rendering the night sky. Beside the new projector, new comfortable theater seating, a 5.1 surround sound system, new carpet, and cove lighting were added to enhance your experience with the help of our corporate partner Indianapolis-based Bowen Technovation. From 2013 to 2015 our large telescope underwent a $425,000 refurbishment by Astronomical Consultants and Equipment with a grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation via Frank Levinson, PhD.
*Though you will always see the telescope, its movement, and how it functions, telescope observations are weather dependent.