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Comets, meteors illuminate the night sky of Santa Fe Local news



Adriana Reyes Newell just wanted to take a picture of the beautiful sunset on Tuesday when she saw a fiery light in the sky coming towards her.

“At first I thought the plane was ruining my picture,” said the physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, who also works as a professional photographer. “But then it started falling apart.”

No, this was not the comet NEOWISE that so many people have reported seeing since March. It was a meteor flying as short as the sky like a shooting star before it disintegrated.

Reyes Newell filmed the meteor flying over Santa Fe shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday. She said she was looking at the sky near the Christ St. Vincent Regional Medical Center when she saw him.

She has already seen comet NEOWISE and has taken pictures of it as well. You may be able to spot the comet if you̵

7;re lucky, she said.

“It’s already moving away from the Earth and the solar system, so if you can see it, it’s very weak,” Reyes Newell added. “But there is time.” [to see it]. “

Vladimir Lira, a professor of astronomy at Las Cruz State University in New Mexico, says it’s about two more weeks to spot the rare comet. He suggested that people keep looking at the sky, looking in the direction of the Big Dipper.

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 wide-field infrared study near Earth or NEOWISE.

“It’s fading now,” he said, noting that it was moving in the Sun’s orbit and would soon disappear beyond that.

Lyra said the comet was made up of rock, ice and other frozen particles and gases. What is visible to the human eye is the comet’s tail as it heads toward the sun.

His fascination with comets comes from his desire to learn 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 planets form,” Lyra said. “Comets are like the remnant bricks used to build a planet. If I want to understand this building, I have to understand the bricks. “

Of the common man, he said, “Comets are just beautiful – the fornication of the world that comes to us at some point.

“They break the consistency of the night sky.”

So do meteors, which also illuminate the skies over New Mexico and should not be confused with comets, Lyra said.

Any number of meteor showers that fill the sky this summer can produce “shooting stars” that seem to increase over the dark horizon and disappear or burn, almost on the road, year after year.

But comet NEOWISE only appears every 4,000 years. So if you miss it, you won’t be around the next time it passes.

“No one alive now will see him return,” Lyra said.


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