What Is the Significance of a Blood Moon?


Quick Answer

A blood moon does not signify anything. It is a total lunar eclipse that turns a rusty red-orange or a deep blood-red color while it is in Earth's shadow. Sunlight filters through Earth's atmosphere and reaches the moon to cause the red color instead of casting dark shadows.

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Full Answer

The media associates the term "blood moon" with a lunar eclipse tetrad, a series of four total lunar eclipses occurring approximately six months apart. The sighting of a blood moon is of interest to astronomers and skywatchers. It is unusual in that during a blood moon, the Earth's atmosphere refracts the longer wavelengths of sunlight and indirectly illuminates the moon's surface.

Total lunar eclipses occur when the sun, Earth and moon are in a straight line and there is a full moon. Religious beliefs about the blood moon around the world regard it as a good or bad omen. For example, the Chinese believe people must ring bells or fire artillery to stop dragons or wild animals from biting the moon.

Alternately, some Christians with apocalyptic beliefs adhere to the blood moon prophecy. The blood moon is an omen of the coming of the end times according to the Book of Joel. It also appears in chapter six of the Book of Revelation.

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