Countdown to darkness: Indiana prepares for total eclipse spectacle


The day has arrived.

Indiana will be in the path of totality this afternoon as the total eclipse blankets the center of the state.

Although eclipses are not rare, what happens in the sky today is something not seen in central Indiana in more than 800 years.

“On average, somewhere on Earth about every year and a half, 18 months, we’ll have a total eclipse,” Rick Galloway of the Indiana Astronomical Society said. “The problem is, many times they’re out over the ocean — no way to go see it. So, having this thing come through the middle of Indiana is extraordinarily rare. And this is just so cool. This is so amazing.”

Gregory McCauley, CEO of Grand Universe in Westfield, hopes residents have a true understanding of the historic event.

“To have a total eclipse happen at your house, in our town, is extremely rare,” McCauley said. “It’s not a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s a once-in-10-lifetimes thing.”

Across the area, the sky will begin to change around 1:50 p.m. with totality beginning at 3:06 p.m. depending on location. Totality should last roughly 3 minutes and 29 seconds.

“Just look at the sky. You have the ability to walk outside and experience it. It’s not just a phenomenon that you witnessed with your eyes. It’s very emotional. I can’t explain why. But everybody has a real emotional reaction,” said Dan Kelleher, geologist and president of Carmel-based Midwest GeoSciences.

Although the planning is mostly fun and games, there’s a serious component when it comes to the eclipse: Protecting your vision.

While viewers can remove their eclipse glasses during totality, Dr. Grace Arnold, an optometrist with Zionsville Eyecare, said looking at the sun without that eye protection can lead to serious eye damage, including photokeratitis, painful eye damage because of exposure to ultraviolet light. 

“It can lead to damage in your photoreceptors, which can lead to vision loss. It can kill off those cells,” said Arnold, noting that after any eclipse event there is usually an uptick in visits from people who didn’t use protective glasses.

Find more on the 2024 eclipse here.