September’s ‘Blood Moon’: What You Need To Know
Save the Date!
September 27th at around 7 PM Central Time will mark the appearance of this year’s 4th in the last of a tetrad of four consecutive lunar eclipses spanning 2014-2015. The ‘blood moon’ eclipse should be visible in western Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America for approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes. Unlike the last eclipse of April 4th (third tetrad) with totality lasting only around 5 minutes, totality with this eclipse will be visible for an estimated whopping 1 hour and 12 minutes in several parts of the world.
Supermoon: Myths and Lunacy
By now, we’re sure you’ve seen lots of bold claims about the moon’s size on September 28th. For the most part, the moon will only appear about 7% larger at perigree when it is closest to the Earth than it does when we would normally view it at apogee as it is further away. Psychologists postulate that we perceive it to actually be larger due to a phenomena called the “Ebbinghaus Illusion” in which we perceive objects to look larger than their relative open surroundings.
Lunar Tetrad: Threat of a coming Apocalypse?
While some televangelists and spiritualists may proclaim this as a sign of ‘end times’ with tetrads and ‘blood moons’ concurring with the Jewish feasts of Passover and the Tabernacles, to some unknowing readers it may be lesser-apparent that these are not out of the norm as these events were already a part of the sequenced Jewish lunar calendar. Incidentally, three of the four eclipses were not visible at all in Israel, with this last one expected to be barely visible at the end before sunrise this September. Still, John Hagee‘s NYT Best-selling book, “Four Blood Moons: Something is about to change” captured rapture enthusiasts and spent 150 days at Amazon’s top 150 seller’s list last year. Aside from predictions of an end-of-year ‘second coming’ of Jesus Christ, his past books have provided failed predictions of apocalypses in 2012 and in 2000, as well as one of a “financial catastrophe” written somewhat after-the-fact in 2008.
According to EarthSky.org, This is a list of known tetrads which fell on both feasts of Passover and Tabernacle:
1. 162-163 C.E. (Common Era)
2. 795-796 C.E.
3. 842-843 C.E.
4. 860-861 C.E.
5. 1493-1494 C.E.
6. 1949-1950 C.E.
7. 1967-1968 C.E.
8. 2014-2015 C.E.
So far, we have experienced no global apocalypse.
Why then, does the moon ‘turn red’?
The moon appears red during most any lunar eclipse because sunlight that is not blocked by the Earth is filtered through Earth’s atmosphere, concealing blue-green light and casting red tones along with Earth’s umbra (shadow). In other words, red light passes more easily through Earth’s atmosphere. This optical phenomenon in physics is known as ‘rayleigh scattering‘. Because of this, it is very likely that on any given evening or very early morning during the right time, you could see a red ‘blood’ moon. Why is this? The moon can appear red when it’s closer to the horizon during both moonrise and moonset as light reflected from the moon is scattered and passes through more of Earth’s atmosphere. Similarly, during events like volcanoes which produce tiny particles that scatter light from the sun and reflected light from the moon, red light will more than likely scatter less, passing through Earth’s atmosphere and give the moon an eerie rust or crimson hue.
Blood Moon: Viewing The Lunar Eclipse Worldwide
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