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53 Interesting Facts About The Number 53: 53′ Ganesha and the Lunar Eclipse

September 27, 2015


In my hunt for 53 interesting facts about the number 53 to share on 53 Sundays this year, I have traveled to many surprising and unexpected places uncovering historic facts, trivia, songs, and books. With today both a supermoon blood moon lunar eclipse and Lord Ganesha’s birthday, I wondered what I would find about the number 53.

This lunar eclipse will last over 5 hours from start to finish; on the west coast, the eclipse begins even before the moon rises!

Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday September 27, 2015
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 6:07 p.m.
Moonrise 6:39pm
Sunset 6:43pm
Total eclipse begins: 7:11 p.m. PDT
Dark 7:37pm
Greatest eclipse: 7:47 p.m. PDT
Total eclipse ends: 8:23 p.m. PDT
Partial eclipse ends: 9:27 p.m. PDT

As the Moon becomes engulfed in Earth’s shadow, the faint red color results from blue sunlight being more strongly scattered away by the Earth’s atmosphere. Because this is the full moon closest to the fall equinox, it is also a Harvest Moon.

APOD says that “Total eclipses of supermoons are relatively rare — the last supermoon lunar eclipse was in 1982, and the next will be in 2033. Tonight’s supermoon total eclipse will last over an hour and be best visible from eastern North America after sunset, South America in the middle of the night, and Western Europe before sunrise.”

Image above Full Moon in Earth’s Shadow–Image Credit & Copyright: Rolf Olsen of the April 4, 2015 lunar eclipse which lasted less than 5 minutes, which, according to APOD, was “the shortest total lunar eclipse of the century. In fact, sliding just within the Earth’s umbral shadow’s northern edge, the lunar north stayed relatively bright, while a beautiful range of blue and red hues emerged across the rest of the Moon’s Earth-facing hemisphere. The reddened light within the shadow that reaches the lunar surface is filtered through the lower atmosphere. Seen from a lunar perspective it comes from all the sunsets and sunrises around the edges of the silhouetted Earth. Close to the shadow’s edge, the bluer light is still filtered through Earth’s atmosphere, but originates as rays of sunlight pass through layers high in the upper stratosphere. That light is colored by ozone that absorbs red light and transmits bluer hues. In this sharp telescopic view of totality from Auckland, New Zealand, planet Earth, the Moon’s north pole has been rotated to the top of the frame.”

As you may know, Lord Ganesha is the Remover of Obstacles and the Patron Saint of Artist. He is the most worshipped of all deities in the world. So I knew I’d find something (even if he didn’t remove the wall I walked into in a dark theater the other day!)

Each year, Lord Ganesha leaves Mount Kailash to visit us during his 10 day birthday celebration which starts on the fourth day after a new moon and concludes with the full moon which this year is a lunar eclipse. AND he visits before and after solar and lunar eclipses. This means that this September, Lord Ganesh has been around quite a bit what with the partial solar eclipse Sept. 13, his 10 day birthday celebration, and this lunar eclipse!

Like all eclipses, it is only visible in certain places and at certain times. A lunar eclipse is at night and a solar eclipse in the day. This is a supermoon eclipse because the moon has an elliptical orbit meaning sometimes the moon is closer than other times.

For those of us on the Pacific Coast, the moon will appear to be EVEN LARGER than a supermoon because the eclipse will take place while the moon is low on the horizon giving the illusion of size when it is in contrast with the earth.

Remember, the 5 hour celestial event actually begins on the west coast before the moon has even risen — so at sunset go see!

Eclipses come in cycles–learn more:

Here’s a live feed from this eclipse:

During the 10 day festival that marks Lord Ganesha’s visit and birthday, many Hindu families make or buy a clay Ganesha to place on their altars. Then, today with the full moon, they place the clay Ganesha in water.  Read more about this festival here:

I also learned that this is the 53rd Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava, a huge 11 day event which according to the website,  “upholds the rich tradition of culture and heritage that is India, through magnificent presentations of music, dance, drama and art by some of the finest artists of the country.”

The website continues: “The Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava, which has been organized by Shree Vidyaranya Yuvaka Sangha at the APS College Grounds, Basavanagudi, for close to 5 decades, is a major cultural festival of South Bangalore. Since the time of its commencement, the grandeur, style and elegance of The Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava has been unparalleled. Year after year, over 1 million people gather at the Utsava to celebrate the cultural extravaganza over a period of 11 days. Eminent musicians, theatre groups and ballet troupes from all across the country have graced the Utsava with their presence and riveting performances. Adding to the euphoria is the free entry for all that welcomes audiences to be a part of this cultural festival.”

In addition to making small clay idols for home altars, many communities construct large figures of Ganesha, including a 53′ tall Ganesha as seen in this video.

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