Tags: blood moon | lunar tetrad

Blood Moon: What Is the Lunar Tetrad?

Image: Blood Moon: What Is the Lunar Tetrad?
A combo picture of the phases of the moon from the beginning (down L) to the totality of the lunar eclipse, 04 May 2004. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 03:07 PM

A series of four total lunar eclipses, called a lunar tetrad, in 2014 and 2015 has generated online talk and photos about blood moons, so-called because of the reddish-orange color the moon turns during the eclipses.

The lunar tetrad eclipses, two of which already occurred, one on April 15 and another on Oct. 8, will finish with eclipses on April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015.

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"The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA," NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak said.

EarthSky said astronomers typically don’t use the term “blood moon” to describe the orange-red moon that is seen after a total eclipse, but the term flew to popularity this year as the media and Internet community used it to describe what would happen during the lunar tetrad.

“The origin of the term is religious, at least according to Christian pastor John Hagee, who wrote a 2013 book about Blood Moons,” EarthSky said. The scientific term for the event is “lunar tetrad,” the organization said, which means, “four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each of which is separated from the other by six lunar months (six full moons).”

A lunar tetrad happens irregularly.

“Depending upon the century in which you live, a lunar tetrad (four consecutive total lunar eclipses, spaced at six lunar months apart from one another) may happen fairly frequently — or not at all,” EarthSky explained. “For instance, in our 21st century (2001-2100), there are a total 8 tetrads, but in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, there were none at all. If we include all the centuries from the 1st century (AD 1-100) through the 21st century (2001-2100), inclusive, there are a total of 62 tetrads. The last one occurred in 2003-2004, and the next one after the 2014-2015 tetrad will happen in 2032-2033.”

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Space.com posted numerous photos of the Oct. 8 blood moon sent in from astronomers and space lovers from around the world. The photos include the brilliantly colored moon peeking around the edge of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and even seen through the wires of a Las Vegas Ferris wheel.

Whatever else the blood moon may mean for those who attribute it biblical significance, the advent of four lunar eclipses or blood moons turned many eyes — and cameras — skyward.





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A series of four total lunar eclipses, called a lunar tetrad, in 2014 and 2015 has generated online talk and photos about blood moons, so-called because of the reddish-orange color the moon turns during the eclipses.
blood moon, lunar tetrad
496
2015-07-02
Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 03:07 PM
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