INDIANAPOLIS – Sunday night on May 15 into early Monday morning on May 16, a total lunar eclipse was visible, if the weather didn’t get in your way.
The last one to make an appearance was in January 2019, and our next total lunar eclipse will be in the early morning hours of November 8th.
Meanwhile, the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium on the campus of Butler University is gearing up for the total solar eclipse.
It’ll make an appearance in April of 2024!
In 2017, the partial solar eclipse drew roughly 1,000 observers to Butler. It’s been more than 800 years since a total solar eclipse happened here in Indy, so you can imagine people are going to be drawn to the out of this world experience.
That’s why students and faculty are preparing for the eclipse, two years out!
“When people see the moon or Saturn for the first time, they don’t believe it’s real,” said Brian Murphy, the director of the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium at Butler University.
You can get up close and personal with the universe by visiting the observatory and planetarium. For Murphy, it’s a must-see.
“This is the largest telescope in the state of indiana, built in 1954,” he shared.
The observatory had to close its doors to visitors due to COVID-19, but now it’s back open and people aren’t wasting time getting back to visit.
“Right before the pandemic hit, we were at some of the largest numbers I’ve ever seen, and it was very exciting to come to work every week and now it’s starting to feel like that again,” said Wyatt Spies, a senior, who just graduated from Butler.
“We get to take them on a journey through space,” added Corinna Pena, a student who also just graduated from the university.
“It’s very special to have this right here in Indianapolis,” said junior Josh Wanninger.
Hundreds of visitors will jump to thousands for the total solar eclipse in 2024 which is expected to be one of its biggest events yet.
To prepare for this massive event, the telescope underwent a $500,000 renovation. The planetarium is now fully digital, students are preparing shows and scripts, and this summer classroom renovations will double as display space.
“We’re going to be using that space also to educate the public about the eclipse,” said Murphy.
Students wants to share this building with central Indiana, in hopes astronomy can excite your imagination, like it does for them.
“Astronomy for me excites the imagination,” said Spies. “There’s so much out there that’s yet to be discovered and so much already we’ve been able to learn.”
On May 20 and May 21, the planetarium will be showing “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed.” It’s a show highlighting Indy’s upcoming total solar eclipse and other stories. There’s also times to view the telescope.
There’s information on the event below, or you can click here to visit the Holcomb Observatory’s Facebook page to learn more about their programming.