ALE-BOPP CO-DISCOVERER ANNOUNCES FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATIONAL
AND
HUMANITARIAN PROJECT

January 27, 2005

Contact: Alan Hale, Southwest Institute for Space Research
(505) 687-2075

CLOUDCROFT, NEW MEXICO. Dr. Alan Hale, co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp
which shone in our nighttime skies eight years ago, is announcing a
fundraising campaign to help develop an astronomical educational
facility at
a location immediately adjacent to the site from which he made his
discovery. The project, called Earthrise, is eventually planned to
contain
several telescopes of various sizes and to be able to host students for
a
variety of astronomical activities. In addition to its on-site
capability,
the telescopes at Earthrise are also planned for utilization in a
remote-control capacity.

Hale notes, however, that the purpose of Earthrise is more than just
education. "During my travels in recent years it has become quite clear
to
me that astronomy can be a very useful tool for breaking down
international
and intercultural barriers," he remarks. Along these lines, Hale
envisions
Earthrise as being the nexus of an eventual global network of
facilities
that will encourage its participating students to form international
collaborations for projects and grow to see each other as colleagues
and
friends. Hale notes that it was his experiences in his recent
astronomy-related travels, including two visits to Iran in 1999 and
2000 to
view a total solar eclipse and to participate in an international
scientific
conference, that to a large degree inspired him to begin developing
Earthrise. "I still stay in regular contact with the friends I made in
Iran
during my visits to that country," he says, adding that "I hope that
our
example of friendship and cooperation will inspire future participants
of
Earthrise to form their own international collaborations."

Two years ago the Southwest Institute for Space Research, of which Hale
is
Director, conducted an initial fundraising campaign that was designed
to
help Earthrise get started. As a result of that campaign, in 2004 the
Institute was able to take out a loan for the purchase of the property
at
the Earthrise site.

With that goal accomplished, Hale and the Southwest Institute are now
announcing a new fundraising campaign. The specific goals of this
campaign
are paying off the property loan ($40,000 which will pay it off in
full) and
the initial development of the property to the point where initial
activities can commence. The Institute already owns the first telescope
to
be located at the Earthrise site, and with sufficient funding Hale
hopes to
have this telescope available for use by participating students by the
end
of 2005.

In conjunction with this campaign, the Southwest Institute is selling
various astronomy-related items, including autographed copies of Hale's
book
"Everybody's Comet: A Layman's Guide to Comet Hale-Bopp;" an e-book,
"In Our
Skies," that contains on CD-ROM a complete set of the weekly astronomy
columns that Hale has been writing for the past ten years; and
autographed
photos of Majel Barrett (wife of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry),
who
graciously donated these to the Institute for fundraising purposes.
These
and other items are available for purchase for $20 each through the
Institute's web site, http://www.swisr.org, and all proceeds from the
sales
will go towards Earthrise.

All contributors of $100 or more will be acknowledged as "Earthrise
Founding
Contributors" and will be listed as such on the Institute's web page
and on
a plaque to be erected at the Earthrise site.

Additional information about Earthrise, including daytime and nighttime
photographs of the Earthrise site and a description of some of the
astronomical activities that will be conducted there once the site is
operational, can be found at http://www.swisr.org/earthrise.html.

Hale notes, incidentally, that this coming July 23 marks the 10-year
anniversary of the Hale-Bopp discovery, and that he is in the process
of
planning an event to celebrate the occasion, which will be in part a
fundraising event for Earthrise. Information about this event is
available
at http://www.swisr.org/celebration.html, which will be updated as
plans are
finalized and guests are confirmed.