Are you ready for the next blood moon this Halloween season? Observers around the world are in for a treat on October 8, but you have to be willing to stay up late. A total lunar eclipse will make the moon appear red between 3:25 a.m. and 4:24 a.m. PDT. And East Coast observers will get to see the blood moon at some point after 6:25 a.m. EDT. A total lunar eclipse creates the perfect conditions for the blood moon to appear in the night sky. It is a visually stunning event, which has been captured by countless myths and photographs. It is the perfect lunar event to watch with your family, especially so close to Halloween.
This hasn’t been the first blood moon of 2014. The first one rose in the sky on April 15. There will be two more blood moons arriving soon, once on April 4, 2015 and another one on September 28, 2015. These four lunar eclipses make up the lunar tetrad, according to NASA. The reason why the moon appears red during these events is because the sun’s light hits the earth, casting a coppery shadow on the surface of the moon. The reason why we call these eclipses “lunar” is because the earth is casting is shadow on the moon. NASA experts predict that the entire tetrad of eclipses will be visible to the majority of U.S. states, since you simply need to spot the moon to catch a glimpse of its reddish tone.
Unsurprisingly, blood moons have captured the imaginations of religious figures, scientists, authors, and artists throughout history due to its name and visceral hue. Discovery News calls attention to a foreboding biblical verse in Joel, which states, “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth… The sun shall be turned into darkness. And the moon into blood.”
The Incas were also worried about blood moons, believing that the red hue was the bloody result of a jaguar attacking the moon. National Geographic describes how the Inca would wave spears at the moon, in order to drive away the predatory jaguar.
If you want to get an idea of what the upcoming lunar eclipse will look like, just visit NASA’s video recap of the Spring 2014 lunar eclipse, which was captured by the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. You can also read over NASA expert chat transcripts from that momentous evening, when astrophysicists and astronomers fielded questions from the public about the lunar eclipse. The chat session notes reveal some detailed facts about the blood moon. The total duration of the eclipse was 1 hours and 18 minutes, and the reddish tinge begins to appear during the partial phase of the eclipse.
The upcoming October 8 eclipse will be visible across the United States, as weather permits. This will be the second lunar eclipse of the tetrad, so if you miss it, you’ll still have two more chances in 2015 to catch sight of the blood moon. Get your cameras ready and set your alarms, so that you can experience the sight of a red moon this autumn.