In certain parts of the world on September 27 and 28, you might look up and see the moon looks a little different than usual. It’ll have some color to it. Maybe it will be a reddish hue or a menacing crimson glow. It will the Blood Moon of 2015. And it will be the harbinger of death and destruction to all of life on Earth, signaling the end-times and ushering a new age of cataclysmic darkness. Or, you know, not.
Unless you are one of those readers who pays close attention to what Biblical conspiracy theorists are saying, you would probably be surprised to hear that many believe the end is nigh. Many do. But that’s not really what’s going on.
Let’s back up a bit and introduce a bit of science here. A blood moon is simply the result of a Supermoon — where a full moon or new moon occurs as the little rock makes its approach to the Earth — and a total lunar eclipse — when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned and cause the Earth to cast a shadow on the moon — happening at the same time. It’s actually called a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse.
A lunar eclipse sometimes causes the moon to appear red. Why? It’s simple: The amount of light refracted depends on the amount of dust or clouds currently in the atmosphere. A dusty atmosphere will cause other wavelengths of light to be scattered and disappear — thus causing the moon to glow red. So if a Supermoon is happening at the same time as a lunar eclipse, chances are you’re going to see a really freaking big red dot hanging around in the night sky. NASA scientists say the Supermoon lunar eclipse will be visible in North and South America on the 27th, while those in Europe and Africa will be able to see it in the early morning on the 28th.
The supermoon lunar eclipse occurred in 1982. The next one after this month’s will be in 2033.
But enough of this scientific explanation mumbo-jumbo — let’s get back to the gloom and doom coming along with this blood moon. There are actually a few references some Christian preachers have been referencing as being evidence the end of the world is on its way:
Acts 2:20: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come.”
Joel 2:30-31: “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
Revelation 6:12: “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.”
Some unflinching believers are reading hard into these lines. Moreover, this blood moon is the last in a tetrad — a series of four consecutive lunar eclipses that coincide on Jewish holidays — that started with the April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse.
But a tetrad happened in the 1900s, too. Spoiler alert: The world didn’t end.
Many people are latching onto the argument that recent conflicts and disasters are signs the end is near. Things like the migration crisis in Europe, California’s wildfires, the recent volcanic eruptions in Mexico, Kyushu island, and Ecuador, and many others. Of course, anyone paying attention to the news in the last decade or so can gather that these disasters are pretty much happening at the same rate they always have. In fact, now is the best time to be a human.
Everyone who’s even a little bit frightened should take a deep breath and relax. Life will go on after September 28. At least it had better — the Oculus Rift doesn’t come out until next year and I’m dying to buy one and finally get away from the real world and spend my days playing around in a virtual one.