EntertainmentInside Indy


April’s total solar eclipse will be the ‘Super Bowl of astronomical events’

Posted at 4:02 PM, Mar 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-04 17:54:51-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s safe to say that Brian Murphy and his colleagues at Butler University saw this one coming.

“It’s basically been on our books for the last million years,” Murphy said. “We have purchased over $20,000 worth of equipment for this eclipse.”

But this eclipse is different from the partial solar eclipse many of us saw in 2017.

“That in no way prepares you for a total solar eclipse, they are completely different events,” Murphy said. “It's literally going to look like a black hole has opened up in the sky and it gets dark suddenly for 3 or 4 minutes, which is not what you see during a partial eclipse.”

To understand what will be going on in the sky, it will be helpful to be familiar with the various types of solar eclipses: total, partial, annular, and hybrid. Click here for a breakdown of each from NASA.

The eclipse on April 8 will be a total solar eclipse. It will be the first for Marion County in 819 years. Murphy suggests viewing the eclipse from inside the path of totality because at its peak, the sun will be a million times dimmer.

“You can't describe totality to anyone,” Murphy said. “You might have seen it in pictures, but you can't describe it to people if they've never seen it.”

But not everyone in central Indiana will be in the path of totality.


“The north half of Kokomo will be outside of the path that totality,” Murphy said. “So just driving that extra five miles from north to south, you might go from 0% totality still sunshine, to totality for perhaps a minute or two. So it really does make a difference.”

Preparation will also make a difference and Murphy encourages Hoosiers to purchase solar eclipse glasses now.


“Don't use sunglasses or anything like that,” Murphy said. “They will not work and you'll damage your eyes.”

But if you want to get the most out of your viewing experience, Butler University will have at least a dozen specialty telescopes for visitors to use for free.

“We’re going to have solar telescopes guide people through the eclipse,” Murphy said. “Tell them look for this, things like what we call shadow bands, [the] diamond ring effect, talk about the temperature changes, the wind change that can occur, you know, just various things to look for.”

The Holcomb Observatory & Planetarium is also holding weekend presentations to help Hoosiers prepare for the eclipse.

While there are thousands of watch parties scheduled across the country, Murphy reminds folks that you don’t have to spend a bunch of money to experience this total solar eclipse.

“This is free to everyone who's looking up,” Murphy said. “Even if you can't make it to our event or someone else's, it's free to look up in the sky. Get those eclipse glasses and then, in totality, pull those off and enjoy that pearly orb surrounding that black hole with the sun used to be.”

WRTV shares the stories behind Indy's many people, happenings, businesses, restaurants, and venues in the area.

Inside Indy

What is Inside Indy?

With Inside Indy, WRTV is hoping to bring you connection with your community, in-depth conversations, and hidden gems right in your city.

Send us a message!