Shelton photographer captures once-in-a-lifetime view of comet
SHELTON — Star-gazers looking to the skies Tuesday night might have caught a glimpse of a one-in-a-lifetime show.
Comet Neowise passed over head that night, and Bruce Nichols of Shelton Land Conservation Trust got quite the photo, which he snapped while at Nicholdale Farm. The photo, posted on the Shelton Land Conservation Trust Facebook page, was taken at 9:40 p.m. on July 14 looking northwest.
Nichols said the comet was faintly visible to the naked eye but there was a much better view with binoculars. Nichols used a long exposure when he took the photo, which brings out tail details and shows some of the dim stars in the background.
NASA’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet — about 3 miles in diameter — in March. Its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
The comet will be visible across the Northern Hemisphere until mid-August, when it heads back toward the outer solar system.
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.
He said it is the brightest comet since the mid-1990s for stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere.
Shelton Land Conservation Trust is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of open space in Shelton. Founded in 1969, the Trust oversees 30 parcels of land totaling more than 365 acres. The properties have been acquired by purchase, partnership, grant and bequest. Membership in the Trust is open to the public.
Includes prior reporting by the Associated Press