I See No Blood Upon The Moon

I hadn’t realized there was such a fuss about this morning’s eclipse. Of course the moon turns red. That’s a good sign: the Earth possesses an atmosphere. A black moon would be trouble–it would mean someone sucked all the air off the planet.

If that happens, feel free to panic.

(W)hat’s unusual this time around is that there will be four blood moons within 18 months — astronomers call that a tetrad — and all of them occur during Jewish holidays.

Doh, to use a theological and scientific term.

Passover is determined by the first full moon of Spring, and you can only have an eclipse when the moon is full. If you somehow saw an eclipse on a moon that wasn’t full, that would mean a sizable planet was somewhere in the Earth’s vicinity. And that would be bad. Eclipses are timed by the tilt of the moon’s orbit and happen on the half-years. A number of eclipses will time with Passover this century. That’s just the way it works. If suddenly, we got an unexpected lunar eclipse in June or December, that would be trouble. It would mean something or someone tilted the moon’s orbit out of whack. They couldn’t do that without throwing a large planet or a small star at the Earth. In which case, we would end up with a month of a different length. That kind of crap is indeed apocalyptic. Get worried if an eclipse turns up in June or December in the 21st century.

Folks, this isn’t the 21st century … BC. Time to step off the panic box. And not buy books from millennialists. Or listen to their podcasts. The world was in much worse shape in previous centuries when events like the Black Death wiped out double-digit percentages of European peasantry.

If you want to panic, think about climate change. You know: the things people do to the planet. Not the spectator events of heavenly bodies.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to I See No Blood Upon The Moon

  1. Liam says:

    And, btw, the feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) typically occurs in the full moon near the September equinox (except when the previous Jewish year was a leap year, in which case the Pesach of that year was also a month later than typical). (Many scholars seem to lean iin the direction of associating Sukkot with being a more likely festal connection to the birth of Jesus; the chain of linkage would be the annunciation to Zachary occurred at Shavuot (Pentecost), given what we know of the temple assignment schedule for that era, the annunication to Mary occurred around Chanukah, the nativity of John occurred around Pesach, and the nativity of Jesus around Sukkoth.)

    Btw, an eclipse of the *sun* by our moon on Good Friday is not a natural event, given that’s by definition there’s a full moon, and solar eclipses occur on the new moon.

  2. FrMichael says:

    I stayed up until 1:30 that night to see the red for nought– too much haze. It was more of a dirty orange. It was neat to see a full lunar eclipse however. Getting up for daily Mass the next morning– not so fun!

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