From Bruce McClure at www.earthsky.org We have been receiving a number of inquiries about some upcoming Blood Moons in the years 2014 and 2015. And we want to say, first of all, that the Blood Moons most people are asking about are not part of astronomy. Instead, their origin is religious, at least according to Christian pastor John Hagee, who wrote a 2013 book about Blood Moons. More about that below. Still, since they’re moons, and since people are asking us, we wanted to reply.
Follow the links below to learn more about Blood Moons.
Blood Moons in astronomy. In astronomical lore, all the full moons have names. The names typically coincide with months of the year, or seasons.
The Hunter’s Moon, in skylore, is also sometimes called the Blood Moon. Why? Probably because it’s a characteristic of these autumn full moons that they appear nearly full — and rise soon after sunset — for several evenings in a row. Many people see them when they are low in the sky, shortly after they’ve risen, at which time there’s more atmosphere between you and the moon than when the moon is overhead. When you see the moon low in the sky, the extra air between you and the moon makes the moon look reddish. Voila. Blood moon.
2014: Harvest Moon: September 9 Autumn Equinox: September 23 Hunter’s (Blood) Moon: October 8
2015: Autumn Equinox: September 23 Harvest Moon: September 28 Hunter’s (Blood) Moon: October 27
Blood Moons in Biblical prophecy. We’re not experts on prophecy of any kind. But we’ll tell you what we know about the new definition for Blood Moon that has caused so many questions recently.
From what we’ve been able to gather, two Christian pastors, Mark Blitz and John Hagee, use the term Blood Moon to apply to the full moons of the upcoming tetrad — four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons) — in 2014 and 2015. John Hagee appears to have popularized the term in his 2013 book Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change .
Mark Blitz and John Hagee speak of a lunar tetrad as representing a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. After all, the moon is supposed to turn blood red before the end times, isn’t it? As described in Joel 2:31 (Common English Bible):
The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.
That description, by the way, describes both a total solar eclipse and total lunar eclipse. Sun turned to darkness = moon directly between the Earth and sun in a total solar eclipse. Moon turned to blood = Earth directly between the sun and moon, Earth’s shadow falling on the moon in a total lunar eclipse.
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