Adriana Reyes Newell just wanted to take a picture of beautiful sunset on Tuesday when she saw a fiery light in the sky coming at her.
“At first I thought it was a plane that spoils my photography,” said Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist, who also works as a professional photographer. “But then it started to break into many pieces.”
No, it was not the NEOWISE comet that so many people have reported seeing since March. It was a meteor, flying briefly across the sky like a shooting star before disintegrating.
Reyes Newell photographed the meteor flying over Santa Fe shortly before 9pm on Tuesday. She said she was looking at the sky near the Christus St. Regional Medical Center. Vincent when he saw it.
She has already seen the NEOWISE comet and also took pictures. You may be able to spot the comet if you are lucky, she said.
“Moving away from Earth and the solar system already, so if you can see it, it̵7;s very weak,” Reyes Newell added. “But there is time [to see it]. “
Wladimir Lyra, a professor of astronomy at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, says there are about two more weeks to discover the rare comet. He suggested that people continue to observe the sky, looking in the direction of the Great Diphtheria.
The comet – about three miles in diameter and moving at about 200,000 miles per hour – was first seen in late March by NASA’s Object-Earth Object Wide Field Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE.
“It is already disappearing,” he said, noting that it is moving in the sun’s orbit and will soon disappear beyond that.
Lyra said the comet is made of rock, ice and other frozen particles and gases. What is visible to the human eye is the tail of the comet as it moves towards the sun.
His fascination with comets comes from a desire to understand more about the creation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.
“Comets tell me something about the origin of the earth, how the planets are formed,” Lyra said. “Comets are like leftover bricks that were used to build a planet. If I want to understand that building, I have to understand bricks. “
To the average person, he said, “Comets are just beautiful … the vagabond of the world that visits us somewhere.
“They disrupt the stability of the night sky.”
So are meteors, which are also illuminating the skies over New Mexico and which should not be mistaken for comets, Lyra said.
Any number of meteor showers that fill the sky this summer could produce “shot stars,” which appear to magnify the dark horizon and disappear or burn, almost at suggestions, from year to year.
But the NEOWISE comet only comes every 4000 years. So if you miss it, you will not be around the next time it passes.
“No one who is alive now will see him return,” Lyra said.