Don’t everybody panic, but there is a blood moon tonight. I repeat: THERE IS A BLOOD MOON tonight. At around 2 a.m. EST, all above North America, a full lunar eclipse will render our moon an eerie, vivid (and yes, blood-reminiscent) red. Depending on who you talk to, this bloody moon either signals the end of days or just a cool, colorful, space thing you can see through a telescope. It’s also the first in a series of four upcoming blood moons, which will appear every six months, in something called a “tetrad” – a phenomenon that doesn’t seem to bother scientists, but is making conspiracy theorists and zealots freak out.
We rounded up some very basic Blood Moon facts so you can judge for yourself.
1. “Blood Moon” is not a scientific term. It’s just a nickname that can refer to any total lunar eclipse that causes the moon to appear reddish and coppery as the earth’s shadow crosses over it. It has nothing to do with actual blood, vampires, murder, or someone coming to your bed to kill you.
2. Should I be scared? Probably not really. Conspiracy theorists and religious types disagree wildly on the significance of tonight’s blood moon and the tetrad altogether. No one seems to have a solid apocalyptic theory to believe in. Perhaps the most vocal on the “this shizz is terrifying” side is Pastor John Hagee, a man who once suggested that Hurricane Katrina was the result of God hating New Orleans for planning a LGTBQ rally. Hagee’s been all over the news today – his book, “Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change” describes the lunar-eclipse tetrad as evidence of a “world-shaking event.” His less-vague blood-moon comments can be seen in this series of truly fascinating videos where he explains: “God is literally screaming at the world: ‘I’m coming soon.'” I question his use of “literally,” but, you know, live and let blood moon.
The reverse of all this is that this celestial event could portend positive happenings: during the last blood moon in 2004, the Red Sox won the World Series.
3. Actually, we could all just call it “Pink Moon” and feel better. According to the Farmer’s Almanac (where I get all of my best information) Native Americans have long-called full moons that occur in April “Full Pink Moons.” Doesn’t that make you feel so much more serene (and like you want to listen to Nick Drake)?
4. No matter who’s right, you’ll still have to pay your taxes. Just as Y2K did not wipe out all the college-loan debt across the land (despite the hopes, prayers, dreams of many recent slacker graduates – myself included), there’s basically a 99.99999 percent chance that the blood moon will not keep the tax man (or lady) away on April 15th. So don’t forget to press “send” on your TurboTax.
5. You might not even be able to see it. Weather forecasters say clouds are going to block the scary/not scary blood moon for nearly all of the country. Which means, basically, PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.