As comet Neowise streaks past Earth, people around the world have been catching a glimpse of the brightest comet visible from the Northern Hemisphere in a quarter-century. But one couple managed to ensure it would be a part of their lives, when a man proposed to his long-time girlfriend with the comet in the background. The photos are now being widely shared on social media.
The couple’s engagement in New York is being widely shared online and many commented that the man timed it perfectly. However, the man said it was an impromptu decision and coincidence that it turned out perfectly.
John Nicotera and Erica Pendrak are both educators in Utica, New York and have always had a passion for catching astronomy-linked events. While his original plan was to propose to her on a trip to Oregon, it had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This could be our engagement,” Nicotera said he had thought to himself. “This is not going to happen in our lifetime or five generations’ lifetimes.”
Nicotera decided to take Pendrak up to McCauley Mountain in New York to see the comet and contacted his photographer friend Tim Leach to join them.
However, Nicotera forgot his binolculars and so they decided they would see the comet through Leach’s camera. While they were there, Nicotera decided to propose and told Leach he was going to do it, while the couple were taking photos.
Take a look at the stunning photos here:
“Our friend Tim offered to take some pictures with the comet in the background,” Pendrak told WPTZ. “I then dropped down on one knee and I asked Erica to marry me in front of Comet NEOWISE,” Nicotera said.
“I went out looking for a comet that night and came home with a fiancé — blew her mind away, she had no clue,” he told local news channel WKTV.
— Erica Lee (@Erica_lee_10) July 20, 2020
Nicotera shared the pictures on Twitter and people praised him and the photographer for the photos.
I’m not saying I plan to steal the idea and recreate this photo even though I’m already married, buuuuuuuuut……
*immediately texts husband the photo telling him we’re recreating it tomorrow night* https://t.co/pjF9eqhIv9
— Chelsea Andrews (@ChelseaFOX7WX) July 21, 2020
I am SO impressed by John’s creativity! This is the ultimate photo-bomb of a proposal picture 😍 Wishing you guys all the happiness! https://t.co/vfmb92f5BX
— Hannah Strong (@WxStrong) July 21, 2020
Now THAT is an engagement picture to cherish for at least the next 6,800 years! The photographer, @tleach18, perfectly encapsulated a magical memory for this couple. #NEOWISE #engagement https://t.co/DZzM0Qaidv
— Bri Eggers (@BriEggers) July 21, 2020
For all you guys yet to propose… The bar just keeps getting set higher https://t.co/LGXWbhPyZR
— John Lawson (@cldfusnboy) July 22, 2020
What a magical proposal! Many blessings for a happy future! Congrats!💍☄️💘 https://t.co/typBg6vyu5
— Jayme👩🏼🍳Short (@allykatsmum) July 22, 2020
— Blake Naftel (@BlakeNaftel) July 21, 2020
Do you need to wait to be married until NEOWISE comes back around? 6400 years! Great photo! Lucky lady. Good Luck!
— Steelers59 (@FromTheRough) July 22, 2020
With a moment like that how could she say anything besides yes? Congrats and what an amazing picture !!!!
— Craig@HotrodInk (@HotrodInk) July 21, 2020
That could not possibly be more beautiful. Wishing you much contentment on your journey together.
— Nikki the Science Teacher (@TeachAstrobio) July 20, 2020
NASA’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March and it is the brightest comet passing the Earth in 23 years. Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about 3 miles (5 kilometres) across. Its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
It will be about 7,000 years before the comet returns, “so I wouldn’t suggest waiting for the next pass,” said the telescope’s deputy principal investigator Joe Masiero of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have already caught a glimpse. Astronaut Bob Behnken had shared a spectacular photo of the comet on social media earlier, showing central Asia in the background and the space station in the foreground.
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