INDIANA’S PREMIERE SITE FOR ASTRONOMY & SPACE SCIENCE EDUCATION - Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium has been serving Butler University students and the Indianapolis public for over 60 years. The observatory, one of the largest public observatories in the world, houses a 38-inch Cassegrain reflector in addition to a number of smaller telescopes, and ranks among the 10 largest telescopes East of the Mississippi River. The observatory can be visited during our regular weekend public tours or groups can schedule private tours at other times.
Two major upgrades have taken place in the last couple of years. First, the telescope underwent a $425,000 refurbishment to greatly improve its optics, operation, and research ability. The telescope now gives us superb views of our Indiana night sky. Second, the planetarium has been fully renovated and upgraded with a fulldome digital projector which can give visitors a fully immersive 3D experience in addition to nicely rendering the night sky. The combination of these two upgrades provides our students and visitors with a unique astronomical learning experience that is hard to match!
Though the equipment has been upgraded the observatory still retains its 1950s charm, particularly when you enter the lobby. You are still greeted with a beautiful terrazzo floor with the inset zodiac symbols, the star burst chandelier, and tall frosted windows. The telescope stills retains its 1950s look, and riding piggyback on the main telescope is the Butler University’s first telescope dating back to the 1880’s.