HOUSTON - The first of four blood moons, or four total lunar eclipses, is Monday night. Typically there will be two lunar eclipses a year but they can be partial, penumbral or total. To have four total eclipses, or a tetrad, in a row is an extremely rare event but not unheard of. From 1600 to 1900 there were no tetrads. What is also unique about this tetrad is all will be seen in the United States.
A total eclipse of the moon is when the moon falls completely into the Earth's shadow. The moon turns red because all light from the sun is blocked and only the color red is reflected to the moon. If you were on the surface of the moon and looked at Earth, you would see every sunrise and sunset around the world on the edge of the earth and that color would also be red.
You've got to wake up early or stay up late to see this incredible view of the moon turning red.
Beginning at 12:58 a.m. Tuesday the moon will begin to move into Earth's shadow. The total eclipse begins at 2:07 a.m. with the peak at 2:46. Totality ends at 3:25 and the moon moves out of the Earth's shadow at 4:33. This image shows it well:
To view the total eclipse or blood moon all you have to do is be up and look outside. Our cold front moves through Monday and clouds will be moving out Monday night, so hopefully we'll have enough clearing to see this.
If you get a great shot please sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, make sure you send your name and where you took your picture.
The George Observatory will be open all night for viewing.
Notice that only the United States, Canada, Mexico and parts of South America will see the total eclipse. The next three will occur October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015, all will be visible from the United States.
This is a really good YouTube video explaining everything about the blood moons coming in the next two years:ScienceCasts: A Tetrad of Lunar Eclipses
The blood moons of 2014 and 2015 also fall on the same days as the Jewish feasts of Passover in the spring and Sukkoth (Tabernacles) in the fall. I've received a lot of questions about end times, the apocalypse etc.
Here are two opposing viewpoints on this if you want to continue reading on this topic:
- A Christian astronomer talks about Blood Moon
- The Blood Red Moons of 2014 and 2014: An Omen of War for Israel?
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