Dust off your binoculars, or for you serious astronomy enthusiasts, get ready to show off your telescopes – it’s about to be the first eclipse of the year! A total eclipse is when the earth passes exactly between the full moon and the sun. This one will be a bit more rare, as it will be one of a series of four total eclipses without a partial eclipse in between, also known as a lunar tetrad, and lately, what people are calling a Blood Moon.
The Blood Moon will be visible to the naked eye on at around 9:55 p.m. on April 14th, and continue overnight into April 15th. (If the latter date rings a faint bell, it’s because it also happens to be tax day.) The total eclipse doesn’t begin until 12:08 a.m. on the 15th, moving into maximum eclipse at 12:46 a.m. The whole event will last for about 3 hrs and 35 minutes.
Besides lunar eclipses being a celestial phenomenon in and of themselves, Blood Moon earns its special name due the red color created when sunlight filtered around the earth’s atmosphere hits the moon. The moon will look like your favorite sunrise or sunset, appearing dusty red/orange. It also has a spiritual meaning to some.
The remaining three eclipses in the tetrad will happen October 8th, April 8th, 2015, and September 28th, 2015. All will be visible in all parts of the United States, but the upcoming “ring of fire” solar eclipse, happening on April 29th, is limited to a small part of Antarctica.
*Partial written credit goes to White Magick Alchemy, as does full credit for the above Total Lunar Eclipse photo.*
In Chinese mythology, lunar eclipses occur because the Dragon, a masculine solar energy, is attempting to eat the moon. To counteract this effect, it was traditional in ancient China to make loud noises (e.g., bang drums) to frighten the Dragon away. As recently as the nineteenth century, the Chinese Navy fired its cannons during a lunar eclipse because of this belief.
In 1503 Columbus’ ships ran aground in Jamaica. During the year that Columbus and his crew waited for rescue, the natives took care of them. Eventually, however, the islanders tired of feeding them. Columbus had an almanac and knew of an upcoming lunar eclipse. Just before the eclipse, he told them that his God was angry and would show them that evening. When the moon was eclipsed that night, the islanders promised to continue providing for them, if Columbus’ God would restore the moon.
Various traditions credit lunar and solar eclipses with affecting human and natural events. Tibetan Buddhists say that during a lunar eclipse, our actions, whether good or bad, are multiplied one thousand fold. Astrologers say the occurrence of an eclipse can trigger wars, political events, and natural phenomenon (e.g., earthquakes).
The Christian Bible points to a possible lunar eclipse as an omen of the end of days.
*Full Written Credit to Everything Under The Moon*