Today’s lunar eclipse will give rise to what some are calling a “blood moon.” Actually it is just a lunar eclipse.
Lunar eclipses occur whenever Earth passes between the sun and moon and casts its shadow onto it, or when there is a total lunar eclipse with a supermoon. A blood moon occurs when this combination occurs.
What is a blood moon?
Celestial events always capture our fascination, but few eclipses can compare to the spectacle and mystery of a blood moon. This rare celestial phenomenon happens when Earth passes directly behind the moon’s shadow, changing it from bright white to rusty orange or dark red in just hours – an eclipse which can be witnessed worldwide, sometimes multiple times every decade!
Although the Moon may look red due to various reasons, most people don’t realize that its illumination doesn’t turn completely black when in Earth’s umbra. Instead, its red hue comes from sunlight being blocked off by Earth’s atmosphere and reflecting off of its surface; short wavelength blue light gets scattered by this atmosphere while longer red wavelengths remain to illuminate it.
“Blood Moon” is not an official term in astronomy, but is commonly used to refer to total lunar eclipses that produce an orange or reddish-orange hue during their totality. Additionally, this phrase is sometimes applied to four total lunar eclipses that take place consecutively over two years – known as lunar tetrads – giving this term another layer of significance.
Lunar eclipses are more rare than solar ones due to Earth’s shadow only reaching the Moon at its full phase and due to Earth’s curvature it is more difficult for observers located elsewhere on the planet to witness one.
When lunar eclipses do occur, they usually take either the form of a total lunar eclipse or partial lunar eclipse. A partial eclipse tends to be less dramatic as the Moon only passes through part of Earth’s shadow, yet you can still witness how its darker edges take bite out of its surface. A total lunar eclipse stands out as being much more impressive; being visible worldwide makes it the preferred option for eclipse-watching events and festivals around the globe.
What causes a blood moon?
If you were watching the sky Sunday evening, then you may have witnessed an eclipse that painted the moon a striking reddish color and is known as a Super Flower Blood Moon. While nothing sinister or ominous was happening here, its name could leave some people questioning its significance.
Blood moons occur during total lunar eclipses, when the Moon passes into Earth’s shadow and enters total darkness. Under normal circumstances, sunlight bounces off its surface; but during an eclipse event, its glow becomes completely cut off as light from other sources is scattered indirectly by tiny particles in Earth’s atmosphere and space around it and causes scattered sunlight to reach it; this produces a stunning reddish hue on the moon itself and produces its distinctive red hue that makes an eclipse so striking.
“Blood Moon” may only recently have gained popular acclaim, but this term actually refers to any total lunar eclipse during which the Moon turns reddish or coppery-hued due to Rayleigh scattering causing certain wavelengths of light to scatter more intensely than others; during totality this explains why totality results in such vivid red hues on its face compared to when light scatters off of its dark side and off its backside.
What makes this lunar event truly extraordinary is the fact that it occurs both during a full moon and as part of a lunar tetrad. A lunar tetrad occurs when four consecutive total lunar eclipses take place over a four month period; lunar eclipses can happen at any time; when they do so during such a tetrad cycle they become known as super blood moons!
On March 2025, western parts of Americas, Australia, New Zealand and eastern Asia can experience another blood moon event. Though there is no immediate danger associated with this lunar event, you might wish to stock up on garlic and crucifixes just in case this lunar event brings bad omens.
What is a supermoon?
Supermoons occur when the Moon reaches fullness while near its closest point to Earth in its orbit, an event which only happens several times each year due to the Moon’s noncircular path. When close to us, its distance varies, but at its closest it measures around 360,000 kilometers (223,00 miles), making it appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual.
Lunar eclipses may also take place during supermoons, though this is not necessary. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through Earth’s shadow, producing a reddish hue on its surface; sometimes this only happens partially, producing what’s known as a penumbral eclipse.
“Blood moon” is not a scientific term; rather, it refers to the reddish hue that the Moon takes on during a total lunar eclipse. This reddish hue results from sunlight scattering through Earth’s atmosphere before reaching its destination: reaching the Moon itself during an eclipse event.
Lunar eclipses are rarely witnessed, making their presence even more special. On August 31st will mark one such lunar eclipse that will also feature as the closest and brightest full supermoon of 2023 as well as serving as the second full moon each month; therefore making this Blue Moon even more memorable!
As there are various methods for determining when a supermoon occurs, most experts agree that for it to qualify as such it must reach its closest point to Earth and full. EarthSky relies on Fred Espenak’s method from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center as they use UTC time instead. Espenak’s dates may differ slightly from others websites published elsewhere based on his calculations based on UTC time; his dates could differ in January, February, March of 2024 followed by two full supermoons happening later that same year in July/August of 2024.
What is a lunar tetrad?
A lunar tetrad refers to four total lunar eclipses that happen within two years and is an extremely rare occurrence; each eclipse must pass completely through Earth’s shadow with no partial eclipses occurring between. They typically take place six months apart.
Blood Moon events refer to events during which lunar eclipses turn the moon a reddish-orange color and have also been used to promote various conspiracy theories linking lunar eclipses to biblical prophecies about the end of time. One prominent such prophecy was promoted by Christian pastor John Hagee who claimed that four consecutive lunar eclipses beginning in 2014 would mark Jewish holidays as well as signal the start of end times as described in Joel 2:20 and Revelation 6:12.
Mark Biltz proposed another blood moon conspiracy theory by linking these events to Biblical passages that refer to “dimness of sun and redness of moon.” Although each total lunar eclipse in this tetrad occurred on Jewish holidays, their selection is unlikely due to any mysterious divine influence; more likely the dates were chosen because these periods allowed Jews from across Europe to gather together and celebrate these holidays together.
No matter if these events were related to biblical prophecies, lunar eclipses occur regularly and frequently occur in pairs. With the Moon as such a familiar celestial object, total lunar eclipses typically happen every few years or so – just like solar eclipses which often follow suit; what makes these particular lunar eclipses unique however is four consecutive ones occurring all at the same time – an event not limited to this century alone but far less common than it seems!