Remember Who Put the Bopp?

Come celebrate the 10th anniversary of a celestial shebang. It was on July 23, 1995 that an unusually bright comet outside of Jupiter’s orbit was discovered independently by Alan Hale of New Mexico and Thomas Bopp of Arizona, and promptly dubbed Comet Hale-Bopp. It was the farthest comet ever discovered by amateurs.

Hale is a professional astronomer who primarily specializes in the study of sunlike stars and the search for other planetary systems, with side interests in the fields of comets and near-Earth asteroids, and in the development of spaceflight. Oh, and in his spare time? Bjo Trimble reveals, “He’s a big SF and Star Trek fan as well!” That’s why Hale is reaching out to Trek and SF fans to hold a fundraising quasi-convention over the milestone weekend:

“As hard as it is to believe, this coming July marks the 10-year anniversary of the Hale-Bopp discovery. I’m having an event here (in Alamogordo, NM) to celebrate the occasion; it’ll be July 22 and 23 (Friday and Saturday). This event is, in part, a fundraiser for the Earthrise project I’m developing, and I’m inviting several ‘notables’ for guests, including some of the Star Trek types. (I’ve been talking with Gene Roddenberry Jr., among others.)”

The Earthrise Project seeks to develop an international network of astronomical educational and research centers that will offer a variety of astronomical and space-related activities for students of all ages and levels, with the ultimate goal of the development of a climate that will encourage its participants to form intercultural collaborations.