March 14, 2024

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Purdue, NASA to host one of Indiana’s largest total solar eclipse viewing events

Additional details released for once-in-a-generation event

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Start your engines! Comprehensive details have been announced for one of Indiana’s largest total solar eclipse watch events, with thousands from across the world expected to experience the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse Event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway presented by Purdue University.

During this once-in-a-lifetime event, attendees are in store for an exciting day of programming and celebration as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and Purdue team up with NASA, which chose the iconic racing venue as one of a select few broadcast locations across the country for this incredible phenomenon. 

On Thursday (March 14) the following details were released

Special guests:

Among the guests expected in attendance are members of Indiana’s congressional delegation; Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb; NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy; and Mark and Rick Armstrong, sons of Purdue graduate and first man on the moon Neil Armstrong. Multiple astronauts and NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers will also be in attendance:

Drivers attending include Ed Carpenter of Ed Carpenter Racing, Will Power of Team Penske and Alexander Rossi of Arrow McLaren, with Arrow McLaren Sporting Director Tony Kanaan also attending.

Purdue’s Cradle of Astronauts:

  • Sirisha Bandla, BS aeronautical and astronautical engineering ’11
  • Drew Feustel, BS solid earth sciences ’89, MS geophysics ‘91
  • Beth Moses, BS aeronautical and astronautical engineering ’92, MS aeronautics and astronautics ’94
  • Mark Polansky, BS aeronautical and astronautical engineering ’78, MS aeronautics and astronautics ’78
  • Audrey Powers, BS aeronautical and astronautical engineering ’99

NASA astronaut:

Drivers and astronauts will be featured throughout the day as subject matter experts and will participate in an autograph session to conclude the day’s events.


Two educational programming tracks will run concurrently. The Sun Track is more technical in nature. The Moon Track is tailored for youth and families. All programming will feature experts from NASA, Purdue University and INDYCAR.

Sun Track (Gallagher Pavilion, adult), hosted by WTHR chief meteorologist and Purdue alumna Angela Buchman:

  • 10 a.m.: Closer Than Ever Before: Technologies to Touch the Sun / Technologies to Touch the Sun (Parker Solar Probe) and Space Weather
  • 10:30 a.m.: Eyes on the Skies and Beyond / An infrared eye on planets in Earth’s solar system: James Webb Telescope
  • 11 a.m.: Beyond Apollo: Neil Armstrong’s Legacy and Artemis’ Ascent Bridging the historic footsteps of Neil Armstrong with the cutting-edge aspirations of the Artemis mission
  • 11:30 a.m.: LIVE: Astronaut panel presented by “This Is Purdue” / Five members of Purdue University’s Cradle of Astronauts join the “This Is Purdue” podcast for a live panel to discuss their experiences in space
  • 12:10 p.m.: Rockets to Race Cars / Exploring the intersection between manned space flights, motorsports and the innovation behind it all

Moon Track (North Chalet, youth/family), hosted by Indianapolis sports personality and Purdue senior communications specialist Derek Schultz:

  • 10 a.m.: Feeling Is Believing: A Tactile Eclipse Experience / Tactile Engineering and NearSpace Education bring a total solar eclipse into view for the visually impaired
  • 10:40 a.m.: Rockets to Race Cars / Rajah Caruth’s Motorsports Journey (documentary and panel Q&A)
  • 11:20 a.m.: Astro, Racer, Engineer, Scientist & More / Follow your dreams to a career in STEM
  • Noon: In the Shadow: A Greatest Spectacle / The science behind the day’s main event: a total solar eclipse

In addition, NASA will have more than a dozen educational exhibits for attendees to interact with. Faculty, students and subject matter experts from Purdue University, Indiana Space Grant Consortium and NearSpace Education will also offer exhibits, booths, demonstrations and displays, available throughout the day in IMS’ Trackside Garages, turned exhibit hall.

On-track programming

Fans can purchase a bus tour track lap and Kiss the Bricks through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. At the start of the NASA TV global broadcast, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be on full display for spectators. Ed Carpenter — NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver, owner of Ed Carpenter Racing and three-time Indy 500 pole position winner — will turn a handful of demonstration laps of the 2.5-mile oval in an Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet INDYCAR just prior to the start of the Total Solar Eclipse sequence. 

Schedule (all times ET)

9 a.m.: Gates open; Gates 2 & 6

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Educational programming

12:35 p.m.: Opening ceremonies and parade lap

1 p.m.: NASA broadcast begins/INDYCAR demo laps

1:50 p.m.: Total solar eclipse begins

  • 1:50:34 p.m.: Partial begins
  • 3:06:04 p.m.: Totality begins
  • 3:07:59 p.m.: Maximum totality
  • 3:09:54 p.m.: Totality ends
  • 3:23:13 p.m.: Partial ends

3:25 p.m.: Closing ceremonies

3:30 p.m.: Astronaut and driver autograph session

4 p.m.: Gates close

4:30 p.m.: NASA broadcast concludes

Public access:

With ticket purchases from 47 states, 13 non-U.S. countries and inclusive of children 18 and under who are admitted free with a paying adult, IMS projects 35,000-50,000 guests in attendance. Don’t be left in the dark! Take your next small step to purchase your ticket, available online in advance and at the door. 

Parking is free in the infield and Lots 2 and 3, as well as the Main Gate lot. Food and beverages will be available for purchase in plaza concession stands. You can also bring your own, following IMS guidelines. Eclipse glasses, named “The Greatest Spectacles,” will be complimentary and made available to all guests upon entry.


IMS will serve as a hub for the working media, opening its world-class media center on Sunday, April 7, and Monday, April 8, for credentialed media to work. Credential requests must be submitted by March 27.

Assigning editors, producers or directors must email all credential requests to with the following information for each person requesting to be credentialed:

  • Name, address, valid email address
  • Phone number
  • Organization
  • Job responsibility
  • Date of birth
  • Either last four digits of Social Security number, complete driver’s license number with name of issuing state, or passport number with name of issuing country

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at

Writer/Media contact:

Suzi Elliot, (IMS)

Trevor Peters, (Purdue)

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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