Dr. Alan Hale

Alan Hale was born in Tachikawa, Japan, in 1958 (as the son of a U.S. Air Force officer) but moved with his family later that year to Alamogordo, New Mexico, where he spent the remainder of his childhood years. After graduation from Alamogordo H igh School in 1976 he attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Physics in 1980.  After assignments at duty stations in San Diego and Long Beach, California, he left the Navy in 1983 and began working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, as an engineering contractor for the Deep Space Network. While at JPL he was involved with several spacecraft projects, most notably the Voyager 2 encounter with the planet Uranus in 1986.

 

Following the Uranus encounter Alan Hale left JPL and returned to New Mexico, enrolling in the Astronomy department at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He earned his Master's Degree in 1989 and his Ph.D. in 1992 with a thesis entitled "Orbital Coplanarity in Solar-Type Binary Systems: Implications for Planetary System Formation and Detection" which was published in the January 1994 issue of the Astronomical Journal), and which has since become one of the seminal papers in early exoplanet research, with over 200 citations to date. Upon earning his doctorate he initially worked at The Space Center (now the New Mexico Museum of Space History) in Alamogordo, New Mexico as its Staff Astronomer and Outreach Education Coordinator, and in 1993 he founded the Southwest Institute for Space Research (now the Earthrise Institute). From 2009 to early 2017 he taught on-line classes in introductory astronomy and graduate-level classes in space policy and orbital dynamics in the Space Studies program of the American Public University System, and as an adjunct faculty member of the New Mexico Museum of Space History he has developed and taught several of their astronomy-related educational activities. In early 2019 he taught classes for the International Space University's Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program in Adelaide, South Australia.

 

Alan Hale's research interests include the search for planets beyond the solar system, including those which might have favorable environments for life; stars like the sun; minor bodies in the solar system, especially comets and near-Earth asteroids; and advocacy of spaceflight. He is primarily known for his work with comets, which has included his discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1995 and his participation in the International HalleyWatch during the return of Halley's Comet in 1986. In recent years he has worked to increase scientific collaboration between the U.S. and other nations, including Iran (wherein he led two delegations of American scientists, students, and educators to that country, one of these efforts being held in conjunction with the August 11, 1999 total solar eclipse), Zimbabwe, and Lebanon. As a result of these efforts in 2009 he was named the New Mexico state finalist in that year's "Above and Beyond" Awards program (administered by the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor Society).

 

Besides his research activities, he is an outspoken advocate for improved scientific literacy in our society, for better career opportunities for current and future scientists, and for taking individual responsibility to make ours a better society. He has written for such publications as Astronomy, the International Comet Quarterly, the Skeptical Inquirer, Free Inquiry, and the McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology, and he writes a weekly newspaper column entitled "In Our Skies" (which has been compiled into an e-book available on CD) as well as a monthly column entitled "Hale to the Stars." He is the author of Everybody's Comet: A Layman's Guide to Comet Hale-Bopp (High-Lonesome Books, 1996), and in 2015 completed an autobiography, The Comet Man, available in electronic form via this web site. He has been a frequent public speaker on astronomy, space, and other scientific issues, and from 2004 to 2006 hosted a weekly radio program, "The Other Side of the Sky." He has been involved with the Icarus Interstellar project and previously served on the Advisory Board for Deep Space Industries, which sought to extract and mine resources from asteroids.

Broadcast 2064 (Special Edition)

Guests: John Batchelor, Dr. Alan Hale, Dr. David Livingston: Topics: Comet ISON. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.

Broadcast 1982 (Special Edition)

Guests: John Batchelor, Dr. Alan Hale, Dr. David Livingston: Topics: Comets approaching Earth, the sun, and Mars. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.

Broadcast 521 (Special Edition)

Dr. Alan Hale returned to The Space Show for this program. We began the interview discussing near Earth asteroids and the orbits of several of the asteroids coming close to Earth. Dr. Hale told us about the one scheduled to be closer to Earth than a GEO satellite on Friday, April 13, 2009, Apophis. Dr. Hale spoke to us about comets, the Deep Impact mission and related topics. We also discussed how finding asteroids and comets had changed due to the more professional survey systems now in place making it much more difficult for an armature to make a discovery. Dr.

Broadcast 353 (Special Edition)

Dr. Alan Hale was the guest for this Space Show program. Dr. Hale, founder and director of the Southwest Institute for Space Research, spoke to us about his coming event, A Comet's Tale party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of discovering the Hale-Bopp comet. Dr. Hale also updated us about his Earthrise Project, an online book he has available consisting of all is writings and editorials for the past ten years, and his radio program on an FM station in Alamogordo, New Mexico. In response to listener questions, Dr.

Broadcast 114 (Special Edition)

Dr. Alan Hale was the guest for The Space Show for Sunday, April 20, 2003. Dr. Hale discusses his discovery of comet Hale-Bopp, the possible impact of near-Earth asteroids, other comets, and the process used to find comets and planets. In addition, he talks about the programs underway at the Southwest Institute for Space Research which he founded. His latest undertaking, The Earthrise Project, is discussed in detail. Dr. Hale explains how the Earthrise Project is bringing people together around the world through astronomy and science.

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