Sunday, November 24, 2013

Great Cosmic Happenings on the Day of Daniel's Departure

   This week, it will be five years since that difficult day in which Daniel, the day after Thanksgiving, walked into the bathroom, collapsed, and never returned to us in body.  This year, rather than talking about how much he is missed here, by myself, my husband and his siblings, I thought I would talk about something Daniel cared about, and perhaps something of which Daniel has a ringside seat.

                Daniel left the Earth on November 28, 2008.  This year, November 28th is important for another reason.  Daniel cared very much about astronomy, and this year, this date will be astronomically significant.Comet Ison, which is also known as Comet Nevski-Novichonok was only discovered on September 21st, 2012.  You see, although we can see a great deal of the Cosmos through telescopes by looking away from the sun, historically it has been difficult for us on Earth to see comets and asteroids which come from the direction of the sun, and therefore we only detect them on relatively short notice.  This comet was discovered by Vitali Nevski and by Artyom Novichonok. both in Russia.  This comet follows an elliptical path near the sun and is therefore also described as a sungrazing comet.   On the anniversary of Daniel's passing from the Earth, comet Ison will come to perihelion.   Perihelion is when it will come closest to the sun. This is very significant this particular year because it may spell the end of existence for Ison.  On this date, Ison is thought to be passing so close to the sun, that it may not survive. It may pass, and disappear from view, just as Daniel did, those five years ago.   It's actually a very important event as Ison has been traveling the heavens for potentially millions of years, and may cease to do so, after this day.

                Ison was hailed to be the comet of the century earlier this year. Astronomers the world over thought that it would appear so brightly that people on Earth could see it easily and clearly as brighter than the full moon.  It hasn't brightened as significantly as they believed it would.  My guess, which is far from an educated one, is that Ison is not made of as much ice as others might think, and this is why it did not brighten as expected.  My thought is that it will survive it's very near encounter with the sun's heat and punishing cosmic rays. I hope it not only comes through, but that Daniel and my Dad are watching with ringside seats.  There are advantages to no longer being tied just to Earth !

              If Ison survives it's trip past the sun, as I believe it will, then on its return from the sun, it should be visible with the naked eye to those of us on Earth until part of January, 2014.  Daniel would want you to try to see it. In this way, we will all be doing the same thing, and in those moments, Daniel and the rest of my family will still be doing something together.

"Universe"        by Sarah Slean
(Sarah wrote and arranged this piece and is playing the piano portion as she sings. )

UPDATE: November 29, 2013 Comet Ison did survive its encounter with the Sun. (Initial reports were that it did not.)  A much smaller portion of it will be flying through the universe with a tail intact, hopefully for eternity.


  1. I stopped by to let you know I'm thinking about you. Great idea to all gather and remember Daniel by doing something of his interest. You brought to mind I think my kids had a telescope. Lucas liked the consultations. He loved the outdoors night and day. Looks like I'll be hunting for the telescope. Hugs & Prayers.

    1. Most kids (and teens) really do like to know what's going on in the heavens. Sounds like this is a good way to honor Lucas this holiday too.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving! This was a wonderful post and great way to give us a glimpse of what Daniel loved. Coincidentally, my son had a great love of stars and astronomy and had his own telescope, so your story really made me smile. Thinking of you today and especially tomorrow. Much love and many hugs coming your way... Pam

  3. Thank you Pam, May all of our "astronomers" enjoy this special and unusual cosmic time. Love and best wishes to you at this potentially difficult time of year. Hugs and best wishes,


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