LEWISBURG, Pa. — These are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you for February.
THE GREEN COMET — An extraordinary green comet will make its closest approach to Earth on Wednesday and Thursday this week for a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event that Professor Jack Gallimore, physics & astronomy, is both studying and recording through telescopes and cameras in the Bucknell Observatory. Gallimore reports this “new” comet is an example of a long-period comet that comes from a great distance well beyond Pluto’s orbit. “Current calculations suggest that the comet has been on an inbound orbit for 50,000 years, which means it originally orbited at a distance beyond 14,000 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun,” he says. The comet is currently in an escape orbit, according to Gallimore, meaning that it is traveling so rapidly that it will eventually leave the solar system forever. “Put another way, this may be the first and last visit of this comet, a fossil of the time when planets were first forming,” he says. Gallimore points out that many comets produce this green glow, which is produced by carbon molecules heated by solar UV. The comet is called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and Gallimore says there are so many comets, many don’t get proper names. Instead, they are given a prefix (here, “C” means a comet that will appear only once), the year of discovery (2022), a code for the time of year (A = first half of January, B = second half of January… E = first half of March), and a number (this comet was the third comet discovered in the first half of March 2022). “The final part of the name gives credit to the telescope or astronomer who discovered the comet, in this case, the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a wide-field telescope dedicated to looking for transient events like supernovae or the appearance of comets,” says Gallimore, who conducts research on star formation and black holes in galaxies, but has a passion for astrophotography. His photos of the comet can be found on his Instagram account (@jgallimo). CONTACT: Gallimore, 570-238-6541, email@example.com.
THE SUPER BOWL OF ADVERTISING — The Super Bowl is not just the biggest event for the NFL, but also TV advertisers. The game is annually TV’s most-watched show, with last year’s Super Bowl drawing 99.18 million U.S. viewers. That presents brands an opportunity to use that attention to their advantage, according to Freeman College of Management Professor Douglas Allen, markets, innovation & design, but at a high price. NBC was selling 2022 Super Bowl ads for a record $6.5 million per 30-second commercial. Allen says given the massive viewership, the cost per exposure is reduced, so advertisers get more out of the pricey spots than they are paying for. Another reason they may choose to advertise is the “earned media” that follows. “Those that succeed with commercials that get people talking often end up in the media following the event, resulting in free publicity for the brand,” Allen says. Whether a new product is being launched or additional brand awareness is desired, a company can gain legitimacy from consumers by being identified as a Super Bowl advertiser, according to Allen. “By being paired with the Super Bowl atmosphere, the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl environment is posited to then transfer to the ad, and then eventually the brand,” he says. “This partnership to the Super Bowl allows brands the perfect opportunity to reach millions of consumers with one hit, while generating brand awareness and buzz.” CONTACT: Allen, 570-577-3713, firstname.lastname@example.org
A CENTURY OF WOMEN ENGINEERING — Katherine Owens Hayden P’48 became the first woman to earn an engineering degree from Bucknell in 1923. Though Bucknell had been co-educational since 1852 — just six years after its chartering — engineering was the last domain on campus for women to access. “The 100th anniversary of Hayden’s graduation is significant,” says Erin Jablonski, associate dean of engineering. “Other schools have recently celebrated 50 years of women in engineering, which coincides with Title IX. That means they had to accept women. Bucknell was progressive, and we should celebrate and be proud of that.” A Bucknell Magazine feature on 100 years of women in engineering at Bucknell can be found here. Starting at the end of the month, Bucknell alumni women in engineering will participate in educational panels to celebrate the anniversary. The schedule can be found on the “A 100 Years of Women in Engineering” website. The anniversary coincides with National Engineers Week starting Feb. 19, and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Feb. 23. March is also Women’s History Month. CONTACTS: Jablonski, 570-577-1644, email@example.com; Todd Merriett, 570-577-3329, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-238-6266, email@example.com