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Indianapolis prepares for first total solar eclipse in almost a millennium

Indianapolis prepares for 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis is already bracing for its first total solar eclipse in more than 800 years, with the rare and spectacular event less than eight months away.

There will be a number of events in central Indiana leading up to the eclipse on April 8, and many places in Indianapolis are preparing for the community to come and see the event.

“The sight of a total eclipse sun is absolutely amazing,” Brian Murphy, a professor of physics and astronomy at Butler University, said.

Murphy says it’s considered the Super Bowl of astronomical events, being rare and magical experiences.

According to state leaders, at 3:06 p.m. on April 8, the moon will completely cover the Sun. Indianapolis will be lucky enough to be in the path of the total solar eclipse.

“It’s not that total solar eclipses are rare. Their frequency. They’re rare in where they occur. The typical width of the path is a hundred miles, and your chances of having one occurring at any location (is) once every 375 years,” Murphy said.

According to NASA, the city will have another total solar eclipse in October of 2153. For the 2024 eclipsee, NASA has chosen Indianapolis as one of three locations in the country they are partnering with for live broadcast.

“This will be one of the very cool things that residents will get to enjoy next year, but also the hundreds of thousands up to millions of visitors that will be coming in the city,” the senior director of public relations and Film Indy at Visit Indy, Morgan Snyder, said.

Visit Indy says the total solar eclipse will last about 3 minutes and 46 seconds.

Places like the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium at Butler University and White River State Park will welcome visitors from around the country to watch the thrilling eclipse.

“We’ll be having our primary viewing space in what we call Celebration Plaza right along the river. Our food trucks will be on the bridge, and we’re looking at having some fun activities on the west side of the river just to keep things going,” the director of events and visitor experience at White River State Park, Lizzie Flora Nunn, said.

For eye protection, there will be at least 15,000 eclipse glasses available at the park’s Visitor Center. Nunn says there are plans to collect more of these special glasses.

At Butler University, there will be an eclipse festival with more than a dozen telescopes, all equipped with solar filters. There will also be planetarium shows leading up to the day of the eclipse.

“One of the things we’ve seen with other astronomical events, not quite as big as this, is people flocking to the observatory because they want to be part of these events,” Murphy said.

Butler says they will be hosting both public and private tours of the Holcomb Observatory leading up to the eclipse.