Kit Steinkellner
October 07, 2014 1:22 pm

If you’ve been looking up at the night sky lately, you may have noticed we have been experiencing our fair share of crazy moons this year. Last month we had a harvest supermoon. (Quick recap of definitions: a supermoon is when Earth and the moon are close as they can be to each other in their orbits, and a harvest moon is the full moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox, and a harvest supermoon is, of course, the spookiest-best thing ever.)

Now the night sky is AT IT AGAIN and we are the beneficiaries of its awesomeness. Early Wednesday morning on October 8th, we are getting a BLOOD MOON. We actually had a blood moon earlier this year (April 14th) and we’re getting two more next year (on April 4th and September 28th 2015), this fab foursome of blood moons is called a tetrad and if you Google “blood moon tetrad” you’ll find all sorts of conspiracy theories having to do with these blood moons, the Ebola virus, the Book of Revelation coming to pass, zombies rising out of their graves to feed on the brains of the living, you know, typical conspiracy theory stuff.

But if you are a skeptic, you don’t have to worry about these moons signaling the end of life on Earth as we know it, as much as you have to worry about setting your alarm and actually waking up at 5AM so you can catch a glimpse of the blood moon madness.

So what IS a blood moon and why does it happen? It’s basically a lunar eclipse, but it’s a SPECIAL lunar eclipse (like lunar eclipses aren’t special enough on their own). We get about two lunar eclipses a year, but those are more often partial lunar eclipses, we need a total lunar eclipse (which comes around less than once a year) in order to get a blood moon. The sun peeking from behind the moon is what gives a blood moon its bloody awesome color.

Unfortunately, this blood moon is not going to be an international event (sorry Europe, Africa, and the Middle East) but if you’re hanging out in North America early tomorrow morning (PARTICULARLY the western half of the continent) chances are you are going to get a stellar view of this night sky spectacular.

The eclipse is going to last from 5:27AM to 6:22AM. So set those alarms! And if you snooze, don’t beat yourself up too hard, remember that we’re only halfway through the tetrad, and we’ve got two more blood moons coming up in 2015. The crazy moons aren’t ending anytime soon!

(Image via)