An Omen

… and since we’re astrologizing, did you all catch the total lunar eclipse and corresponding ‘Blood Moon’ last night? The park near my house was filled with folks looking skyward, which for me was almost as big a thrill as the event itself.

It still amazes me, though, how confused and ill-informed people continue to be about events like this. As I walked up the street to the park, glancing up at the beginning of the eclipse, an old bloke said to me knowingly “Better get a good look – you’ll never see that again in your lifetime…”*

Lunar eclipses occur frequently, sometimes two or three times in a year, total eclipses a little less frequently. ‘Blood’ or ‘Hunter’s’ moons appear whenever there is a total lunar eclipse.† I’ve already seen a few, and I hope to see a few more, all things going well.

Acts 2:20 ~ The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

Of course the religious loonies leap upon this sort of thing with gusto. As an omen, the red moon is surely the lamest of portents to choose – by my calculation, the Earth has seen at least two thousand of these since the apostle Peter penned the above prediction. Even if you assume that St Peter was referring to a combination of solar & lunar eclipses, it’s not such a rare thing for those things to occur in tandem.

If you want to know when your next Blood Moon occurs, you can do no better than fire up the Javascript Lunar Eclipse Explorer at NASA. Plug in your capital city and your century and you’re set to plan your next End Times Picnic!


*Of course, it is possible that he was clairvoyant, and the real meaning of his pronouncement was that I’ll be turning up my toes before the next lunar eclipse occurs…

†Unless there are extenuating circumstances – a lunar eclipse on December 30, 1982 was almost completely dark. Dust from the recently erupting Mexican volcano El Chichon clouded the atmosphere to such an extent that it occluded the sun’s rays, preventing them from casting their filtered red light on the moon.