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Blood Moon

The red side of the moon

Blood moon comes from the rusty red appearance during a total lunar eclipse, when the moon is in the Earth’s shadow. The color is caused by blue light scattering as the sun’s rays refract through the Earth’s atmosphere. The term “blood moon” was popularised in 2013 following the release of the book Four Blood Moons by Christian minister John Hagee. He promotes an apocalyptic belief known as the “blood moon prophecy” highlighting a lunar sequence of four total eclipses that occurred in 2014/15. John notes that all four fell on Jewish holidays, which has only happened three times before — each apparently marked by bad events. The prophecy was dismissed by Mike Moore — General Secretary of Christian Witness to Israel — in 2014, but the term is still regularly used by the media and has become a worrying synonym for a lunar eclipse.

For many ancient civilisations, anyway, the “blood moon” came with evil intent. The ancient Inca people interpreted the deep red colouring as a jaguar attacking and eating the moon. They believed that the jaguar might then turn its attention to Earth, so the people would shout, shake their spears and make their dogs bark and howl, hoping to make enough noise to drive the jaguar away.

But blood moon is not the one to be always an amazing event for enthusiasts and romantics…

Blood moon from the Temple of Poseidon, Athens, 2017 Photo Petros Giannakouris

Super blue blood moon behind the Camlica Mosque in Istanbul, 2018 Photo Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Super blue blood moon rising in the London Skyline, 2018 Photo Michael Thomas

Super blue blood moon rising in the London Skyline, 2018 Photo Michael Thomas

In 2018, that photographed by Michael Thomas was the first time in 36 years three moon events have been visible at the same time in Europe, and it has not been seen in America for 152 years. It was a Super Blue Blood Moon. A blue moon is a name for a second full moon in a calendar month. It is relatively rare, hence the expression “once in a blue moon”. The last one before now was May 2016. A supermoon is a name for a full moon when the satellite is at the closest point in its orbit around Earth. This makes it appear up to 14 percent brighter and 30 percent larger than normal.

The 2019 moon eclipse has been named Super Blood Wolf Moon. During this new spectacle, the moon appeared to glow red while seeming brighter and closer to Earth than normal. The event was initially visible from North and South America, as well as areas of western Europe. In parts of the UK some clouds obscured the view. One of the suggestive images of the event is the one took at Eklutna Lake, in Alaska, by Ian Esk Merculieff. The next total lunar eclipse is expected in two years, on 26 May 2021.

Super blood wolf moon at Eklutna Lake, Alaska, 2019 Photo Ian Esk Merculieff

Super blood wolf moon from Brussels, 2019 Photo Reuters

Super blood wolf moon, 2019

Blood moon from Berlin, 2017 Photo Hannibal Hanschke

Blood moon at the funfair in Szczecin, Poland, 2017 Photo Marcin Bielecki

Blood moon through the hot fumes emitted by a Delimara power plant in Malta, 2017 Photo Darrin Zammit Lupi

Super blood wolf moon phases from Panama City, 2019 Photo Afp

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