February 8, 2024

Purdue, IMS invite the public to have the pole position for total eclipse of the sun

Here’s how the Purdue community can engage in a once-in-a-lifetime cosmological event

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Two months from Thursday (Feb. 8), Boilermakers will be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime event, a total eclipse of the sun. And we will have a front-row seat. Just after 3 p.m. ET on Monday, April 8, much of Indiana will experience near totality for nearly four minutes as the moon passes between the Earth and sun, darkening the sky as if it were dawn or dusk.

Those from Boone County south to Indianapolis and through much of south and southeastern Indiana will experience 100% totality of the solar eclipse for up to 3 minutes and 44 seconds. Visit Indiana predicts more than a million tourists will travel to our state to witness the eclipse.

The 2024 eclipse marks the first time in 819 years a total solar eclipse will be visible in much of Indiana. Another 129 years will pass before it occurs again. The next total solar eclipse that can be seen from the contiguous United States will occur on Aug. 23, 2044, according to NASA, where totality is expected to be in the Upper Plains and Canada, with partiality in the western U.S.

In anticipation of the once-in-a-generation event, on Thursday (Feb. 8) Purdue University released the following information and opportunities for students, staff, instructors, alumni and fans interested in celebrating the day. 

Teaching and learning

Classes and operations on the West Lafayette campus will proceed as normal with minimal disruptions expected. West Lafayette is not in the path of totality.

The Office of the Provost, however, is asking all Purdue instructors on the West Lafayette campus to be flexible and to consider adjusting course schedules so students can experience this incredible learning opportunity. Further, instructors are strongly encouraged not to schedule exams on the day of the eclipse. 

Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, presented by Purdue University 

Much of the university’s eclipse efforts and programming will surround the Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, presented by Purdue University. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will become the destination for an unrivaled viewing experience within the path of totality.

In collaboration with IMS and NASA, Purdue will present an exciting day of programming and festivities featuring Purdue experts, students, alumni and more. Because of its ideal viewing location within the path of totality, IMS is one of three primary partner locations where NASA will stage a live broadcast of its eclipse coverage. Join thousands from across the world for this once-in-a-generation event that is expected to be one of the largest viewing events in the country that day.

Event details

  • Date: April 8, 2024
  • Gates: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET (Gates 2 & 6)
  • Parking: Free in infield and Lot 2
  • Camping: Lot 2
  • Food and beverage: Plaza Concessions and BYO
  • Eclipse glasses: “The Greatest Spectacles” will be complimentary and made available to all guests upon entry

Tickets and sales

  • $20/person (com/Eclipse).
  • Kids 18 and under: free entry with paying adult.
  • Given the time frame of total solar eclipse (3:06-3:09 p.m. ET) and many schools being closed or operating in a virtual learning format, we’re offering a family-friendly, affordable, safe and educational total solar eclipse viewing experience.
  • Strong sales to date, with purchases from 44 of 50 states (and the District of Columbia), including as far west as California, plus 11 non-U.S. countries (Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Switzerland, England and Northern Ireland).
  • Open seating available in Tower Terrace and Gasoline Alley stands with ample views of the skies to the east and southeast.
  • Designated telescope areas located across viewing mounds inside oval Turns 2 and 4.
  • Telescopes are permitted for entry and may be used within these designated areas.

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.: Max 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

Educational programming

STEM Symposium (approx. 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
o Two tracks, Sun and Moon, covering topics ranging from rockets to race cars, space exploration, careers in STEM, women in STEM and, of course, the science of a total solar eclipse.
o The Sun Track will be more technical in nature. The Moon Track is tailored for youth and families.
o “This Is Purdue” podcast, hosted by Kate Young, will record a live episode on YouTube featuring an all-astronaut panel, including Drew Feustel, and other members of the Cradle of Astronauts.

Booth and exhibit displays (all day)

Faculty, students and subject matter experts from Purdue University, Indiana Space Grant Consortium, NearSpace Education and NASA will offer exhibits, booths, demonstrations and displays, available throughout the day.

On-track programming

  • Track laps (approx. 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.).
  • Fans can purchase a bus tour track lap and Kiss the Bricks through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. INDYCAR demo laps (TBD) (approx. 1 p.m.).
  • (TBD) 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 2.5-mile oval — will in an Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet INDYCAR turn a handful of demonstration laps of the 2.5-mile oval just prior to the start of the Total Solar Eclipse sequence. 


  • NASA TV broadcast (1-4 p.m.)
    o The IMS Total Solar Eclipse Event presented by Purdue University has been designated one of just three official broadcast sites for NASA TV’s coverage of the astrological phenomenon.
  • Media outlets from around the country and across the world will descend upon Indianapolis to cover a total solar eclipse from the path of totality.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway 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.

Limited-time solar eclipse merchandise can be ordered from Indianapolis Motor Speedway and The Shop. All paths lead to Indy! More than 31 million people live in the path of totality, and Indy is within a day’s drive of more than half of the nation’s population.

Total solar eclipse campus watch party in West Lafayette

Can’t make it to Indianapolis for the total solar eclipse event? No problem. Purdue invites you to join us on Stadium Mall at our West Lafayette campus for a solar eclipse watch party. 

We’ll have 1,000 free pairs of eclipse glasses available to help attendees safely view the spectacular show. Join us in sharing this unique experience. 

When: Monday, April 8, 2024, 1:45 p.m. ET

Where: Stadium Mall, Class of 1939 Water Sculpture (Engineering Fountain)
Hosted by:

Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, College of Science 
Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science
John Martinson Honors College 
Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Total Solar Eclipse: ‘How We Think’ panel discussion

The way a human mind works, one trained to view an image or an occurrence in a specific way, is fascinating. What does a poet, an astronautical engineer, a planetary scientist or an astrophysicist think about when they see a solar eclipse? The faculty assembled for this panel will each talk for 10 minutes about their perspectives on an image of a total solar eclipse, then take questions. Join us to gain unusual insights on a total eclipse of the sun. 

This event is organized by the graduate students in Leading Women Toward Space Careers, a John Martinson Honors College program. 

Free of charge and open to the public. RSVP HERE.

When: Wednesday, April 3, 5:15-6:15 p.m. ET  

Where: Honors College Residence Hall North, Honors Hall (1101 First St., West Lafayette) 
Panelists: Ali BramsonKathleen HowellDonald PlattAbigail Polin

More information can be found here.

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 https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives.

Writers: Trevor Peters, peter237@purdue.edu,  Phillip Fiorini, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Media contact: Trevor Peters, peter237@purdue.edu 

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