Weekend Public Tours

We will not be having public tours until December 1st due to the Thanksgiving holiday break.   But you can try to schedule a private tour for your group.

Now Showing Season of Light. Learn about the many astronomical origins of our Holiday customs. Open to the public on December 1st, 2nd, 8th & 9th Doors open at 7:00 PM Planetarium show at 7:30 PM Telescope viewing 8:30 - 9:30 PMThis December light up the cold dark season with a warm and bright holiday show! Season of Light explores the reasons humans are so fascinated with lighting up our lives during the December holiday season.  It’s also an exploration of the astronomical meanings behind seasonal traditions, including the “Star of Bethlehem.” This is followed by a star/constellation show, “CLASH OF THE TITANS,” highlighting our current evening sky, its mythology, and where to find selected objects and planets in the sky.

Also to help you prepare for the total solar eclipse on April 8th  Eclipse glasses can be purchased during our public weekend hours at a cost of $2 per pair.

  • Doors open at 7:00 PM
  • Planetarium Show at 7:30 PM
  • Telescopes Viewing from 8:30 to 9:30 PM
  • Cost for planetarium show: $8 adults &  $5 children

Following the planetarium experience, weather permitting, you’ll have the chance to observe Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon (if they are in the proper phase), and explore various celestial delights through Indiana’s largest telescope. Telescope viewing is always free and contingent on favorable weather conditions.

If the weekend doesn’t align with your schedule, consider scheduling a group tour for your organization or group at a different time.

Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium is conveniently situated on the north end of the Butler University campus. You can reach us by heading west on 46th or 49th Street from Meridian Street (Butler University Campus Map). Parking is available in our parking garage for a fee. Please note that there are three separate sets of steps totaling 66 leading up to the telescope viewing area, as there is no elevator available. For disability-related accommodations, please visit butler.edu/event-accommodations. Wheelchair accessibility is provided in the lobby, planetarium, and restroom areas. If you require ground-level viewing, we can arrange for a portable telescope; please contact us in advance to make these arrangements.

In recent years, the planetarium has undergone a substantial $300,000 renovation. We replaced the old analog Spitz AP3 star projector with a state-of-the-art fulldome Digitarium Kappa projector. In late 2022, we further upgraded the planetarium projector to the new laser-phosphor illumination Digitarium Lamda system, offering vivid colors and 225% more pixels on the dome than our previous Kappa projector. This enhancement provides visitors with a fully immersive experience and beautifully renders the night sky. Alongside the new projector, we introduced comfortable theater seating, a 5.1 surround sound system, new carpeting, and cove lighting, all made possible with the support of our corporate partner, Indianapolis-based Bowen Technovation. Additionally, between 2013 and 2015, our large telescope underwent a comprehensive $425,000 refurbishment by Astronomical Consultants and Equipment, thanks to a grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation via Frank Levinson, PhD.

Thumbnail example of the Indianapolis Clear Sky ChartClearSky Clock

*Though you will always see the telescope, its movement, and how it functions, telescope observations are weather dependent.