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The total solar eclipse that will be visible across the entirety of the United States on Monday, April 8 has been the talk of the nation as citizens get ready to find the best viewing spot. In Indianapolis, Indiana, locals and others traveling from afar have the opportunity of a lifetime to view the solar eclipse from the famous racing capital of the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). 

Indianapolis will be located in the center of the Path of Totality. For 3 minutes and 46 seconds, the city will experience darkness as the moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun.

This year’s total solar eclipse is the first to happen in 7 years in the US. In most parts of the world, a total solar eclipse is only visible every 100 or so years. We’ve just gotten lucky here in North America having been able to see one only 7 years later. The next total solar eclipse visible in North America won’t be until 2044.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon orbits directly between the Earth and the Sun, leaving a shadow from the moon and a period of total darkness over the affected area. The path that the eclipse will take this year is only 124 miles wide and crosses from Maine to Texas. The period of darkness can last anywhere between a few seconds to several minutes. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Will Host An Eclipse Viewing Party
Photo Credit: Drew Rae/Pexels

At the IMS, Be sure to grab your complimentary pair of The Greatest Spectacles, a disposable set of glasses designed to save your eyes from the rays of the sun while watching the eclipse. Even though the sky may appear dark since the moon is covering the sun, there are still sun rays reaching your eyes that can cause detrimental damage to your eyesight if the proper eye protection is not worn. 

The IMS will be hosting events and programs all day long in celebration of the total solar eclipse. The gates will open at 9am with the first event beginning at 9:30, The Track Bus Tour, which allows guests to take a lap around the 2.5 mile oval track. After the track tour, two simultaneous educational programs will run, featuring experts from NASA, Purdue University and INDYCAR. Programs will also include five members of Purdue University’s Cradle of Astronauts discussing their experiences in space. 

To learn the science behind the day’s main event, attend the noon show, In The Shadow: A Greatest Spectacle where NASA personnel will have dozens of interactive exhibits set up. At 12:35pm, the opening ceremonies will commence and the NASA TV live broadcast will begin at 1pm. The IMS Total Solar Eclipse Event presented by Purdue University is one of just three official broadcast sites for NASA TV’s coverage of the astrological phenomenon.

To send off the celebration, INDYCAR demo laps will begin at 1pm where three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter will turn a handful of laps in an Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet INDYCAR SERIES car. Right before 2pm, guests will take to their seats, put on their special glasses, and get ready for the show. 

In Indianapolis, the total solar eclipse event will appear as follows:

Partial eclipse begins: 1:50:34 pm

Total eclipse begins: 3:06:04 pm

Max totality: 3:07:59 pm

Total eclipse ends: 3:09:54 pm

Partial eclipse ends: 3:23:13 pm

After getting a glimpse of the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as the corona and officially seeing a total solar eclipse, the closing ceremonies will begin, followed by an autograph session with the astronauts and drivers on site. 

Tickets for the event are only $20.00 and children under 18 can enter for free with a paying adult. Special passes can also be purchased to camp on-site beginning on April 6. For $275, guests can experience the luxury of the Gasoline Alley Club where food and beverages are complimentary and the Rooftop grandstand is available for ample eclipse viewing. 

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the best place to be for this year’s total solar eclipse, being right in the Path of Totality, and having all of these amazing events to supplement the experience. Don’t forget to purchase your IMS Total Solar Eclipse merchandise online before attending the big day! 

Words by Emily Cigan @emily.cigan 

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