(1958–) American astronomer
Alan Hale was raised on the outskirts of Alamogordo, New Mexico. His interest in astronomy developed at school and early in 1970 his father bought him his first telescope – a 4½-inch reflector. After graduating from high school he attended the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, where he studied physics. He was then stationed at various naval bases. Throughout this period he continued his astronomical observations, in particular the observation of comets.
In 1983 he left the navy and spent 2½ years working for the Deep Space Network at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena. He then went to New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, where he obtained his PhD in 1992. In 1993 he formed an independent research and education organization.
The organization moved in 1995 to a mountain village of Cloudcroft, New Mexico. It was here on the night of 22–23 July that Alan Hale first observed the comet Hale-Bopp. It proved to be perhaps the most prominent comet of the century. The comet was discovered independently by an amateur astronomer, Thomas Bopp.
Subjects: Science and Mathematics.