The Neowise comet is a rare comet that only comes around every 6,800 years, according to NASA, and will only be seen in the sky until July 23.
To make their proposals to their girlfriends even more special, two different men—with the same idea—decided to use the comet as a backdrop.
Here’s how the proposals came together.
A Last Minute Masterpiece
For John Nicotera, the cosmic event ended up being a plan B. His original plans to propose to his girlfriend, Erica Pendrak, 26, in Oregon, fell through due to COVID-19.
“I’ve been very bummed because I was going to do it at Crater Lake and it was going to be awesome,” he told CNN.
Nicotera, who is a self-proclaimed “space junkie,” had been following the comet, and after blanking on how to make up for his planned proposal, it clicked.
“This could be our engagement,” he said he thought to himself. “This is not going to happen in our lifetime or five generations’ lifetimes.”
Nicotera decided to take Pendrak up to Old Forge, New York, near his family’s camp to see the comet. He had been in touch with his friend Tim Leach, who was an avid photographer and lived in the area, to get a feel for the best spot.
On the way, he realized he forgot binoculars, he called Leach hoping he had a pair he could borrow, but he unfortunately did not. The two then decided to meet up with their girlfriends together so they could see the comet through Leach’s camera.
Nicotera then spilled the beans to Leach about proposing and the two came up with a last-minute plan. They didn’t even finalize it until right before Nicotera proposed.
The couples were taking pictures with the comet when Nicotera knew it was his moment. He walked over to Leach and told him in the next picture he was doing it.
“Every single star was out … it was too special to let it go,” he said.
He got down on one knee, and asked Pendrak to marry him. The funny part was, he had to tell her not to move for seven seconds to get the shot. After they celebrated, they staged another photo to make sure the euphoric moment was captured.
“Time froze time for us so we could live this moment forever,” Nicotera said. “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.”
The Perfect Setup
Brian Thompson’s proposal to Hanna Allen, 28, also included a stunning picture-perfect shot of the Neowise.
“Brian is very much into photography … and loves taking pictures of stars and astrology,” Allen told CNN.
He had been tracking the comet and she said she had not seen it yet, so he decided to take her out to the farm where they live in Bahama, North Carolina, so they could take a picture with the cosmic wonder.
“He had the light shining on me so he could get us in the picture, so I couldn’t see anything,” she said. “So then he just pops up out of nowhere and is down on one knee asking me to marry him.”
She said she had no idea that he was going to propose and was so excited she didn’t even care about the humidity or the fact that she was wearing sweatpants.
“He told me he proposed to a one-in-a million under a comet we only see every 6,800 years,” Allen said.
“All of his friends are mad at him because he set the standard because who else would propose under a comet,” she joked.