Blood moon grand slam

out natcornSomewhere beyond the rain and clouds, in the wee hours yesterday morning (April 15), there was a striking blood moon accompanied by fiery mars during a total lunar eclipse. The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles streamed the event live so I imagine you can Google it and get a look.

This blood moon set in motion the beginning of a grand slam of blood moons, or a tetrad if you happen to be of an astronomical bent, or a signal of the “End Times” if you happen to be of a particular religious persuasion. 

The term “blood moon” originally had little to do with the color of the moon. It was generally the first full moon after the harvest moon, which supposedly coincided with the opportunity for hunters to use the full moon to stockpile prey for the winter.

But add a lunar eclipse to a full moon and you will get a “blood” (reddish in color) moon every time. Lunar eclipses occur about twice a year, so these blood moons — a full moon at the time of a lunar eclipse — occurs, normally, about every six years.

A lunar eclipse is caused when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, causing the Earth’s shadow to fall on the moon. The sunlight reaching the moon just prior to and just after the eclipse is refracted by the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the reddish tint — the same kind of scenario that creates those glorious red sunsets.

So we have these red moons occasionally, often around September and/or October when the harvest moon and/or the hunter’s moon tend to rise shortly after sunset and get the full benefit of the refracted sunlight or any time there is a lunar eclipse. But this year’s blood moon is the beginning of an astronomical event called a tetrad. A tetrad is when there are four total lunar eclipses in a row with no partial eclipses in between — a series of four “blood moons.” Each of these blood moons is separated from the other by six full moons.

Now if you’ve been around the block more than once you know that all this cool stuff happening in this precise order can give way to any/all kind(s) of predictions, foreshadowing and/or revelations. And you would be correct.

John Hagee, TVangelist and founder of the mega Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. wrote a book last year entitled Four Blood Moons: Something is about to change, suggesting that this tetrad might be fulfilling biblical prophecy and signaling the imminent “End of Times.” Of course there have been tetrads before and I fully expect my grandkids and their grandkids to see tetrads — of course, I also predicted no one would document the existence of the ivory-billed woodpecker, so what do I know? But the fulfillment of this particular tetrad will continue on Oct. 8, 2014, April 8, 2015 and Sept. 28, 2015.

It looks like the heavens may cooperate a little more for another astronomical event beginning today. The Lyrids meteor shower will be observable from April 16 through April 25, peaking between midnight and dawn on April 22/23. The Lyrids are considered to be the oldest of the known meteor showers. They are remnants of the comet Thatcher, and their point of origin is the constellation Lyra. Watch for the Lyrids in the eastern sky.

(Don Hendershot is a writer and naturalist. He can be reached a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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