'Blood Moon' Attracts Stargazers, Conspiracy Theories

Tuesday's total lunar eclipse will bring out both stargazers and conspiracy theorists alike as the blood red moon fills up the early morning sky.

'Blood Moon' Attracts Stargazers, Conspiracy Theories
Flickr / Nikkorz

Stargazers and fans of eerie, prophetic-like omens will be in for a treat early Tuesday morning when a total lunar eclipse will occur, turning the full moon red. (Via NASA)

Also called "blood moons", total lunar eclipses happen about twice a year when the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow, or umbra. 

But what's up with the creepy red glow that gives the lunar event its nickname? 

Well, the red color is actually not unlike a sunset, but from the moon's perspective. NASA describes it as "seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once." And that red glow from behind the Earth gets projected onto the moon. 

This total lunar eclipse will be the first in a series of four appearing every six months, a phenomenon called a "tetrad" – something not particularly rare for this century according to NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak. (Via CNN)

While a total lunar eclipse is a interesting sight for stargazing hobbyists, for others the oncoming blood moon and tetrad brings something else – tidings of doom. 

CTV News writes that "Conspiracy websites draw parallels between lunar eclipses and historical events, like the fall of Constantinople and the founding of the State of Israel," and that the last blood moon occurred when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.

​But perhaps the biggest proponent for any conspiracy concerning the upcoming blood moons is Pastor John Hagee, who released a book titled Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change in 2013. (Via The Christian Broadcasting Network)

With all four blood moons being viewable from the U.S., New York Daily News notes Hagee claims that "the four blood moons that will soon appear in the skies over America are evidence of a future 'world-shaking event'." 

In an interview with Fox News, Hagee emphasized the significance that each blood moon will occur during a Jewish holiday as well. 

"To have a blood moon, and then for those blood moons to be on this exact date, is something that just is beyond coincidental." 

As noted by Think Progress, Hagee has caused some controversy before when in 2008 he suggested a connection between God's wrath towards a gay pride rally planned for New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.

The next three blood moons will be viewable this year on Oct. 8 followed by April 4 and Sept. 28 next year.