Weekend Public Tours
Please check back on this page or Facebook for future weekend dates when they are announced.
You can still schedule a Private Group Tour .
Our typical weekend programming includes a full dome immersive planetarium show followed by a star/constellation show highlighting our current evening sky, its mythology, and where to find selected objects and planets in the sky. After the planetarium portion of the evening visitors will then have an opportunity to view Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon (if at the proper phase) and other assorted celestial hors d’oeuvres through Indiana’s largest telescope, weather permitting. Viewing through the telescope is always free and weather permitting.
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.
In the last few years the planetarium underwent a $300,000 renovation. It had its old analog Spitz AP3 star projector replaced with a fulldome Digitarium Kappa projector. In late 2022 the planetarium projector was further upgraded to new laser-phosphor illumination Digitarium Lamda system that provides bright, rich vibrant colors and 225% more pixels on the dome than the our previous Kappa projector. This gives visitors a fully immersive 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.