CLOUDCROFT, NEW MEXICO. July 23, 2005 marks the ten-year anniversary of the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp, and co-discoverer Dr. Alan Hale is announcing plans for an event to celebrate the occasion. “It seems incredible to think that that much time has elapsed since the discovery,” remarks Hale. The comet was at its best in the nighttime sky during the first few months of 1997, a year and a half after its discovery by Hale and independently by Arizona amateur astronomer Thomas Bopp.

The planned two-day event will be held at the Tays Special Events Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico on Friday and Saturday, July 22 and 23. Plans for the event are still in the process of being finalized, however appearances by several prominent guests will be part of the schedule. Some of the guests include well-known astronomers — including fellow co-discoverer Bopp — as well as space visionaries and individuals from the science fiction community. An exhibition by a prominent space artist, and a benefit concert featuring at least one internationally-known musical act, are also planned as parts of the festivities.

The event is being planned in part as a fundraiser for the Earthrise Project that Hale has begun developing within the past few years. Earthrise is an effort to establish an astronomical educational facility in the Sacramento Mountains near Cloudcroft, New Mexico, at a location immediately adjacent to the site from which Hale made his discovery of Hale-Bopp. The Southwest Institute for Space Research, of which Hale is Director, purchased the property at the planned Earthrise site in 2004, and is presently engaged in a fundraising campaign to pay off the property loan and begin development. Details about Earthrise can be found at the web site

Earthrise is also envisioned as becoming the nexus of an international network of similar facilities, and to illustrate the international nature of Earthrise the anniversary celebration will feature appearances by some of Hale’s international colleagues, including some astronomrs from Iran whom he met during his two recent trips there. “I still stay in regular contact with the friends I made in Iran during my visits to that country,” Hale remarks, adding that “I hope that our example of friendship and collaboration will inspire future participants of Earthrise to form their own international collaborations.”

The Southwest Institute is presently seeking organizations and businesses, both within the local area and elsewhere, that are willing to be sponsors for the event. Sponsoring organizations and businesses will be featured prominently as such on program literature and at the Institute’s web site, and will be allotted booth space for sales and other activities at the event. Any organization or business interested in being a sponsor for this event is invited to contact the Southwest Institute at (505) 687-2075 or by e-mail at

Information about the celebration event and a schedule of activities will be posted at as plans are finalized and as guests are confirmed. “The discovery of Hale-Bopp was certainly a major event in my life, and I invite everyone to come share in this anniversary celebration with me,” Hale says.