Date(s) - 09/21/2018 - 09/22/2018
8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium Show | Butler University


Holcomb Observatory & Planetarium has replaced its 60-year-old analog planetarium projector with a new digital projector that will provide a fulldome 3-D immersive experience. At night, the dome of the planetarium comes alight with a tour of the night time sky pointing out stars, constellations, and planets in the Hoosier skies. Public tours are available most Friday and Saturday evenings. 

Doors open at 8:00PM   –   Planetarium Show at 8:30PM   –   Telescope viewing from 9:30 to 10:30PM

Admission is $4 for children/students and $6 for adults for the planetarium show (cash and credit only). Viewing through the telescope is always free, weather permitting. Please note: there are three sets of steps to the telescope. Wheelchair accessibility is available in the Planetarium and lobby area only. No elevator is available to the telescope viewing area.

The Show:

Phantom of the Universe: the hunt for dark matter

An exciting exploration of dark matter – from its origins in the Big Bang to its observed effects in the Universe to its currently anticipated discovery at the Large Hadron Collider. In this fulldome film you’ll witness the first hints of dark matter’s existence through the eyes of Fritz Zwicky, the scientist who coined the term dark matter. You’ll then learn about the galaxy rotation rate discoveries of female astronomer Vera Rubin before plunging deep underground to the world’s most sensitive dark matter detector in a former gold mine. You’ll also journey across time and space to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, speeding alongside atomic particles before they collide in visually stunning explosions of light and sound. All the while learning how scientists around the world are collaborating to track down the mysterious composition of dark matter, the phantom of the Universe.

Discover free educational resources about dark matter here. Check out the fun ABCs of Particle Physics, as well as the short educational video What is Dark Matter and Dark Energy?

Following the fulldome feature film there will also be an interactive late summer star show highlighting our current evening sky and where to find the planets in the sky.  Following the planetarium portion of the evening visitors will then have the opportunity to view the planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, & perhaps Venus) and other assorted celestial hor d’oeuvres through Indiana’s largest telescope.   Viewing through the telescope is always free, weather permitting (click on ClearSky Clock below).


Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium is located on the north end of the Butler University campus and can be reached by heading west on 46th or 49th Street from Meridian Street. Butler University Campus Map. Patrons can utilize our parking garage for a fee or park in the Hinkle Fieldhouse lot at no charge (provided no sports or special event is scheduled).   For patron information there are three separate sets of steps to the telescope.  No elevator is available to the telescope viewing area. Wheelchair accessibility is available in the lobby, planetarium, and restroom only.  If needed we can bring out a portable telescope for viewing at ground level.   If you may need this, please email us in advance.

Additional Info:

If a weekend tour doesn’t fit your schedule consider scheduling a group tour for your group at another time.

Please follow us on Facebook at for up-to-date information and other astronomy information.


Holcomb Observatory Public Tours - Phantom of the Universe: The hunt for dark matter

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