Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium
Weekend Public Tours
Indiana's premier site for Astronomy & Space Science Education for over 65 years
Our programing includes an immersive fulldome HOLIDAY SPECIAL film, “SEASON of LIGHT” 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. Following the planetarium portion of the evening visitors will then have the opportunity to view the JUPITER, SATURN, 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. Viewing through the telescope is always free and weather permitting (click on ClearSky Clock below for likely weather conditions).*
- Masks are required for all visitors when inside the observatory.
- Tickets can be purchased in the lobby when our doors open at 7:00PM.
- Fulldome planetarium show and star show begins at 7:30 PM.
- Telescope viewing 8:30 to 9:30PM, weather permitting.
- Admission for the planetarium who is $5 for children and students under 18 yrs, and $8 for adults. We accept cash or credit.
- Due to the length and content of the weekend planetarium shows, only ages 3 and older are allowed. For younger children we highly recommend our more age appropriate weekend matinees which we periodically advertise.
- We have limited seating capacity so if the 1st planetarium show fills up we run a 2nd and perhaps 3rd planetarium show that night. If you are in the 2nd 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 totalling 66 up to the telescope. No elevator is available to the telescope viewing area. To request disability-related accommodations, please visit https://www.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. In addition to the planetarium 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.
*Note that we have limited seating capacity so if the 1st planetarium show fills up we run a second and perhaps a third planetarium show that night. If you are in the second (or third) show, then we reverse the order of the evening and get you started on telescope observations of the cosmos immediately. This should result in very little delay in your visit.
**Though you will always see the telescope, its movement, and how it functions, telescope observations are weather dependent.