The 2013 Comet Festival is a celebration of the scientific potential of Comet ISON, which is a sun-grazing comet from the faraway Oort cloud. The comet will pass close to the sun on Thanksgiving Day, hopefully leaving a tail of dust and ionized particles that will allow scientists to observe in rare detail the effects of solar winds. This scientific event will be celebrated all over the region, from cafes, brew pubs, and restaurants, to local schools, libraries, and planetariums. The festival will include telescope viewings, the art exhibit, speakers, a Comet Quest treasure hunt in downtown South Bend, and concerts at the local venues Chicory Cafe and The Pool.
The Comet Festival Art Exhibit will open at the Colfax Cultural Center from November 19 to December 19, with a formal reception taking place on Friday, December 6, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. The exhibit will feature art by adults as well as by children from the South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC). Candace Butler, Art Facilitator for SBCSC has arranged for each of the over 20,000 children in South Bend schools to create a piece of art with a comet or solar system theme. The Comet Festival Art Exhibit will feature ten pieces from each of the 33 schools.
Festival organizer Chuck Bueter has been a passionate advocate for science education in South Bend and was the speaker for the first South Bend Science Cafe in September 2013, also co-sponsored by the Reilly Center. In July 2013, Bueter was awarded the Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. In 2004 and 2012 Bueter spearheaded Transit of Venus education, for which NASA recognized him as a significant partner in one of the largest education events in NASA history.
The Reilly Center promotes scholarly and public engagement with the ethical, legal, social, and policy implications of science and technology. The center promotes education and discussion through outreach to the Notre Dame and local community, scholars and scientists around the world, policy makers, journalists, and an engaged and aware citizenry.
For more information on the 2013 Comet Festival, see www.cometfestival.com.