On April 8, 2024—one year from today—people in Indianapolis will have the opportunity to experience a total solar eclipse. For many, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience; the last time a total solar eclipse passed over Indianapolis was in 1205 and there won’t be another until October 2153. In Indianapolis, the total eclipse will occur at 3:06 PM EDT, lasting roughly 4 minutes.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth, completely obscuring the face of the sun. Parts of the United States experienced a total eclipse on August 21, 2017. Indianapolis was not in the path of totality during that eclipse, and only experienced a partial solar eclipse.
“For residents of Indianapolis, next year’s solar eclipse will be very different than the one we experienced in August 2017,” Brian Murphy, director of the Holcomb Observatory at Butler University, said. “As totality nears the sky will quickly darken, similar to dusk, as the moon’s shadow races toward us at 2000 mph. Birds, insects, and other animals will behave as they do at twilight. The totally eclipsed Sun will then appear as a black orb with its beautiful outer corona revealed. Brighter stars and planets may be seen at midday during this brief time. It is truly one of the most amazing sights you will ever see.”
Murphy said that Butler University has been a popular spot for people to watch partial eclipses in past years, and given this is a total solar eclipse, he expects visitors and media to be on campus again next year. Butler’s Holcomb Observatory is one of the largest public observatories in the world. The observatory houses a 38-inch Cassegrain reflector telescope, among the ten largest telescopes East of the Mississippi River.
“I highly encourage people to make their way into the path of totality,” Murphy said. “And the closer you get to the center of the path, the longer the total eclipse will last. We are very fortunate that our campus is close to the center of the path. We will get to experience the total eclipse for nearly four minutes.”
Butler University will feature eclipse programming at the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium beginning this month and running through April 2024. Details about the eclipse—including schedules, eclipse-related campus activities, how to safely view the eclipse, and more—are available on the Butler University website.