Although the February sky in Indianapolis has been somewhat unpredictable alternating between clear and sunny to cloudy and gloomy, the astronomer’s forecast predicts cloud cover among other information marking optimal star gazing opportunities at Butler University’s Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium. Public tours are scheduled each Friday and Saturday night during the month.
The observatory’s doors open at 7pm and reservations are not required. The planetarium show begins at 7:30 and star gazing follows between 8:30-9:30 weather permitting. Holcomb has serviced Butler and the public for 60 years and is one the largest observatories in the world containing Indiana’s largest telescope.
Aside from the current Hoosier night sky, which features the planet Jupiter and its moons the observatory’s powerful telescopes allow viewings of the moon, stars, constellations, and nebulae on a clear night. A visit to Holcomb offers a learning lesson, but also reveals bits of a mysterious universe that cannot be viewed under normal circumstances.
Admission is just $3 for adults, $2 for children, students, and seniors and families of five or less can enter for $7; the fee must be paid in cash. There is no wheelchair accessibility to the telescopes. Holcomb is located on the north end of the campus; head west on 46th Street from Meridian Street to arrive at the observatory and planetarium for a night of star gazing and astronomical astonishments.