This evening we experienced a rare cosmological event; a
supermoon/harvest moon/blood moon/total lunar eclipse!
First, the media hyped “supermoon” is just the moon’s perigee during this 29ish day lunar cycle. It happens to be full at perigee as well (which happens several times a year). Tonight the precise full phase and the precise perigee occur within the same hour.
All this will make for the biggest, brightest and closest “supermoon” of the year. “So what?” You say? Exactly. The moon tonight was ~31000 miles closer to earth than at apogee (which was only two weeks ago). That’s a far piece to be sure, but only nets a ~10% increase in observed size… hardly noticeable but still cool.
Second, it’s a “harvest moon”, which is just the first full moon after the autumnal equinox, which was last Wednesday.
Third (and I had to look this one up after a buddy mentioned it tonight) it’s being called a “blood moon”. Now, I’d heard of blood and moon being referenced together in the past, mainly having to do with hunting or horror story folklore, but this one was a new one on me.
Now, a fully eclipsed moon does take on a ruddy color due to the diffraction of the Sun’s rays through Earth’s atmosphere and illuminating the moon’s face… if we didn’t have this atmosphere, the moon’s face in the Earth’s shadow would just be black. It’s the same red we get here on Earth at sunrise and sunset… just cast toward the moon.
This whole “blood moon” thing seems to stem from an end of times book from 2013, affixing some prophesy to an event know as a tetrad… when there are four successive total lunar eclipses occur each separated by 5 full moons with no intervening partial lunar eclipses in between.
There will be a total of eight tetrads this century, and have been a total of 54 from the first century through the 20th century… but this one seems to be significant to the authors of the end times book for its occurrence in association with the Jewish holidays of Passover and Tabernacles… and the need to sell books to morons, apparently.
There is a biblical passage that references the moon turning to blood, but the same passage also alludes to the sun being turned to darkness. If these two things did occur at the same time, we would have something to worry about!
In celebration of all of the above, I took the opportunity to dust off my original US release (with stickers, but no posters) of the Pink Floyd album Dark Side Of The Moon:
What could I possibly say about this record that hasn’t been said a million times over? It’s fantastic. It’s one of the greatest albums of all time. It still sounds fantastic and fresh 40+ years later.
My wife joined me for the listen tonight, then we walked up on the ridge-top to enjoy the (nearly) total eclipse of the
superharvestbloodhype moon. It was awesome. We’ll do it again in 2033, assuming the “prophets” are wrong… again.