Random Thoughts: Blood Moons

0 September 28, 2015 at 8:18 am by

iStock_000062201744_SmallToday’s thoughts are even more random [1] than usual. I didn’t see much of the actual eclipse, unfortunately – here in Europe, full eclipse was around 4:30 a.m. or so, so when I got up at 6 you could only see a bit of Earth shadow.

  • Strictly speaking, every eclipse is a blood moon, because every full eclipse makes the moon look red. THE Blood Moon, though is traditionally another name for the Hunter’s Moon, the second full moon after the autumn equinox. (The current one is called Harvest Moon.) The full moons in autumn often rise early in the evening. and because of the angle they are bigger and redder, hence the name.[2] The current eclipse was also a supermoon, i.e. the moon is at its closest point on the Earth orbit, i.e. it appears bigger again.
  • The correct term for the phenomenon we saw yesterday and in the past 18 months is a “lunar tetrad” – 4 full lunar eclipses six (lunar) months apart. This started to be referred to as Blood Moons because there seem to be a few Doomsday predictions surrounding lunar eclipses and some relatively popular books, which the press picked up upon. (Additionally, the current tetrad dates all fall on Jewish holidays.) Tetrads per se aren’t all that seldom; between the years 500 and 2000 there have been 38 in total.[3]
  • Assuming the Doomsday warnings have any basis, would insurance help against the coming catastrophies? IMHO yes – your regular elementary insurance should cover it, although if it does start raining frogs your carrier might start to argue…
  • In China, would-be full moon viewers at the Mid-Autumn festival in 2013 could buy insurance in case they couldn’t see it due to weather. The current eclipse one wasn’t visible in China, afaik, and I couldn’t find any similar insurance online – it was clear skies here anyway.
  • Speaking of full moons – if you can’t find insurance against anything bad happing to you because of the full moon, it’s probably because there is no evidence that it does.[4]
  • So if you do get bitten by a werewolf, your normal health insurance should cover it…

[1] Or rather silly

[2] Lots of good info at earthsky.org, e.g. here.

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_penumbral_lunar_eclipse#Summary_frequency_of_total_penumbral.2C_total_umbral_and_tetrad_events_501.E2.80.932500

[4] see “Much Ado about the Full Moon: A Meta-analysis of Lunar-Lunacy Research”. James Rotton and Ivan W. Kelly in Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 97, No. 2, pages 286–306; March 1985.

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