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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A couple’s engagement photos with Neowise comet in background are a hit online

John Nicotera and Erica Pendrak are both educators in New York and got engaged with the comet Neowise in the background.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Published: July 23, 2020 2:55:39 pm
Neowise comet, couple comet neowise proposal, Neowise, Neowise telescope, Neowise closest to earth, Neowise from space, Neowise closest to sun, Neowise sighting, Neowise last sighting, Trending news, Indian Express John Nicotera and Erica Pendrak are both educators in Utica, New York got engaged this weekend and their photos are going viral. (Source: @tleach18/ Instagram)

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.

Nicotera shared the pictures on Twitter and people praised him and the photographer for the photos.

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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