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April Blood Moon Kicks Off Lunar Eclipse Quartet

Why is it called a blood moon? Which planet will make a guest appearance near the moon? And what’s up with that biblical prophecy?

April's blood moon eclipse will show itself on April 15, 2014. Photo Credit: jurvetson, via flickr creative commons
April's blood moon eclipse will show itself on April 15, 2014. Photo Credit: jurvetson, via flickr creative commons

The lunar eclipse on April 15 is being referred to as a blood moon eclipse and if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering why.

The most obvious answer seems to be: “Because it looks red.” According to EarthSky, a full moon almost always takes on a copper hue during a total lunar eclipse, due to light dispersion from the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets.

“Thus the term blood moon can be and probably is applied to any and all total lunar eclipses,” EarthSky reports.

But with the publication of a 2013 book by John Hagee titled “Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change,” the term has taken on a religious component.

“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,” Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd write in this EarthSky article on the blood moon eclipse.

Definition recap: A lunar tetrad is a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses that take place in six month intervals, approximately. That means that over the next two years, we’ll see four lunar eclipses.

Add to that a bit of biblical prophecy the lunar tetrad is thought to fulfill, something Hagee writes about in his book, and that’s why the folks at EarthSky think the term “blood moon” is gaining in popularity.

When to Watch

Night owls, rejoice: the lunar eclipse will begin around 1:20 a.m. Tuesday, April 15, on the East Coast. Check out this handy eclipse calculator for more info on when to watch in your area.

Bonus Celestial Stuff

Mars will make an appearance near the eclipsed moon. Red planet, red moon — I’m seeing a theme here…

Don’t forget to mark your calendars! Here’s the approximate dates for the rest of the lunar eclipses in the tetrad:

  • Oct. 8, 2014
  • April 4, 2015
  • Sept. 28, 2015

Happy moon-gazing to all! If you take pictures of the lunar eclipse, we'd love to see them! Feel free to post in our Town Square, under the "Conversations" tab above.
Scott Peterson April 14, 2014 at 01:18 PM
Are these times more or less serious than the past times when such tetrads listed have occurred? My understanding of the history of the times listed give me no reason to suspect such to be the case. The only distinction is the ability for the news of calamity to spread faster and further than in those past times thus altering the perception of rarity. Growing up in a bible thumping habitat, I was given to understand that astrology is akin to devil worship so I find it ironic that those who would see god's kingdom manifest on earth selectively using astrology in arguing its imminence. If this tetrad is to satisfy the actual written word, there must be 4 Total Eclipses of the Sun turning it black to coincide with the 4 blood moons. This is just another cosmological event common in all solar systems. Wishing for the end of the world is certainly a means to realizing it once critical mass is achieved as well as the means to discontentment born of the twins, Disappointment and Frustration, until then. It's your future though so have at it but expect to reap what you sow.
StandfortheLord April 14, 2014 at 09:06 PM
Not sure why you bring up astrology. Did you mean astronomy? You understand correctly that astrology is of darkness...the fallen angel Kokabel taught man astrology. God tells us to look for signs in the sun, stars and moon. Not the planets. The Bible is very specific about that. A person of faith who very closely follows world events is able to connect the dots and see plain as day the unique times we are in. The end times described in the scripture, being the begining of satan's new age. To a person of little or no faith, this stuff means nothing but hogwash. To a Jew of faith, it's enourmous because it involves Israel. So as world war errupts this year or next, tell us all about how it's no big deal because world war has happened twice and it was no big deal.
Scott Peterson April 15, 2014 at 09:50 AM
Astrology makes predictions of future events based on cosmological alignments of both planets and the Sun and Moon in relation to constellations of stars. So what exactly is the difference if not the predictions and labels used? While the ancient writers of scripture surely associated celestial events with real world events by sensing a pattern, without knowing that the pattern is repeated throughout the universe, they could not know that it couldn't be personal. That the eclipse happened while the skies were overcast suggests that if it were a sign, few were able to see it. The logical question is to ask why God wouldn't have ensured there were clear skies so that the sign could be seen. Simply put, if it were in fact a sign, hiding it is counter productive. The significance of the world wars depends on from where and when you look at them. Significant to those who lived it to be sure but to those who came afterwards, perhaps less so. While tragic to those who suffered the effects of the times, the losses were replaced within 3 generations and the memory of those who experienced the times are fading as time moves on. Besides, if another world war is to happen, it, like everything else, must be by design of anything is. I do believe that everything happens because it is supposed to or nothing can, I just don't think it all happens for us as some seem to. My ego is healthy but to assume the entire universe was made for man alone is beyond my hubris.
christie nicolle April 21, 2014 at 11:14 AM
sounds fascinating -- I heard of John Hagee a minister who wrote a book on the Blood Moons - don't get it yet, but sounds intense, we just had a lunar eclipse + full moon days ago.
dleighg April 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM
christie I hope you don't think it's significant that the eclipse and the full moon occurred at the same time. That is ALWAYS the case (simple geometry).

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