The moon goes into the earth’s lightest shadow making the eclipse barely visible. This amazing stage or situation is called penumbral. It was predicted that North and South America will see a penumbral eclipse on July 5, 2020 and so will Europe and Africa. Following this, on Nov. 30, 2020, North and South America saw the last penumbral eclipse of the year, including Asia, Australia and the Pacific region. The next Blood Moon will appear on May 26, 2021 which will be visible from the Pacific Ocea, Asia and Australia and large parts of the Americas. A Blood Moon spears only twice in three years. But the number of total lunar eclipses witnessed in a year can vary. This picture sees the Moon completely covered by the Earth’s umbra for over 60 minutes. The entire eclipse, including the penumbral and partial phases, will take 5 hours and 12 minutes.
A total lunar eclipse is the basically what they refer to as blood moon because a fully eclipsed Moon often takes on a reddish color, which was seen during the total lunar eclipse in September 2015. Blood moon is not a scientific word or term. The only other lunar eclipse of 2019 was witnessed on July 16. Coincidentally, Apollo 11 was launched on the same day that is July 16 about 50 years ago, marking its 50th anniversary. It was the first crewed mission to land on the moon. Now, researchers say that 2020 will see four penumbral eclipses, where once again blood moon will be witnessed.
The Appearance of Blood Moon
We need to understand in what situation can a blood moon appear. Firstly, a total lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon travels through the Earth’s umbra and obstructs all direct sunlight from illuminating the Moon’s surface. Despite this, some sunlight still reaches the lunar surface indirectly, through the Earth’s atmosphere, radiating the Moon in a reddish, yellow, or orange glow. Fascinatingly, a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering filters the a few colors in the light spectrum that are leaning more towards the violet spectrum. This happens when the sun rays pass through the atmosphere. The same mechanism is the cause of colorful sunrises and sunsets. The Red wavelengths are barely affected by this effect, so the light reaching the Moon’s surface has a reddish hue, which allows the fully eclipsed Moon to acquire a beautiful red color. The Moon can also look yellow, orange, or brown during a total lunar eclipse which depends on the composition of the atmosphere where the varied parts of the light spectrum are filtered.
The term Blood Moon is also sometimes used to refer to four total lunar eclipses that happen in the span of two years, a phenomenon astronomer calls a lunar tetrad. With at least five uneclipsed Full Moons between them, the eclipses in tetrad take place approximately six months apart.
The Occurrence of Blood Moon
Usually, only about one in three lunar eclipses are total, and about four to five total eclipses can be seen from any single location on Earth in a decade. Due to such mysterious happenings, lunar tetrads are rare occurrences, and can lead to some special beliefs. It can also be foundation of religious customs and superstitious beliefs, or simply fascinating imaginations of the human brain.
In 2014–2015 that saw the lunar tetrad, grabbed a lot of attention because some religious organizations spread the word that this rare appearance can be a sign of the end times. While, some also called the eclipses Blood Moons in reference to a statement in the Book of Joel in the Hebrew Bible, that stated the Sun turning dark and the Moon turning red before the second coming of Jesus.
When the moon does not completely cover the entire sun, it leaves a ring around the edges which is referred to as “ring of fire”. This ring of fire, annular eclipse is predicted to take place on June 10 this year.
2020 witnessed the occurrence of a pair of solar eclipses. An annular took place in central Africa, South Asia, China and the Pacific, on June 21, 2020. Following this, a total solar eclipse happened in the South Pacific, Chile, Argentina, and the south Atlantic on Dec 14, 2020. Well, 2020 was an amazing year for the world to witness some fascinating happenings in the atmospheric realm. 2021 too, has some amazing occurrences that will leave us in awe of the universe. We know that we live in a beautiful world that is full of wonderful happenings. But sometimes we just need to really open our eyes and see the these amazing events to truly appreciate its magnanimous effects.
Here’s a list of all the “blood moons” coming up in the next 10 years and the locations where they will be visible: