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July’s Long Lunar Eclipse

21 Jul 2018, 17:08 UTC
July’s Long Lunar Eclipse
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Total Lunar Eclipse of 2018 Jul 27

There has recently been a rash of headlines all saying something like “July’s Blood Moon the Longest of the Century.” What the heck is a “Blood Moon?”

This term first became popular back in 2004 when a couple of ministers tied a tetrad (a series of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 24 months) to an apocalyptic prophecy signaling the end of times. But lunar eclipse tetrads are nothing new – there are eight of them this century, two of which have already happened (in 2003-2004 and 2014-2015). Neither of them coincided with the end of times, current politics aside.

“Blood Moon” presumably refers to the Moon taking on the color of blood during totality. But this is NOT accurate. The totally eclipsed Moon can exhibit a large variety of colors including dark grey, brown, rust-red, fire-red, orange-red and bright orange.

Not only is the term “Blood Moon” misleading, it obfuscates a perfectly natural and wholly predictable phenomenon with mysticism, fundamentalism and ignorance. The media have an obligation to inform and educate their readers without promoting such an unenlightened and nescient term. Why not call the July 27 event a “Total Lunar Eclipse” ...

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