|A blood moon photo taken on Apr. 15, 2014. The world did not end when that blood moon occurred, and it is unlikely to end tomorrow (26 July), either.|
Credit: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day
Tonight (July 26 - last Thursday), the moon will pass through the center of Earth's rusty-red shadow and remain there for a whopping 1 hour and 43 minutes.
To astronomers, this is a thrilling example of a total lunar eclipse — the longest one we'll see for the rest of the century. To some doom-saying YouTube preachers, on the other hand, it's a terrifying example of a "blood moon," and it may be the last one we ever see in this or any century.
"The blood moon is definitely a prophetic sign [of the end times]," one prominent YouTube preacher (whom Live Science prefers not to name) said in a recent video. "There are way too many prophecies in play here… we're in the end times."
This is not the first time a so-called blood moon has attracted prophecies of doom — not by a long shot. Throughout history, many non-Christian cultures have interpreted the disappearance of the trusty moon as a dark omen. According to National Geographic, Incan myths held that a lunar eclipse meant the moon had been eaten by a large jaguar, while ancient Mesopotamians believed an eclipse was the work of demons. With the light of the moon being so crucial to timekeeping and agriculture, it's little wonder why its disappearance or sudden blood-red makeover was a terrifying sight.
If Blood Moons Signal the Apocalypse, We Have Been in the 'End Times' for 4.5 Billion Years
Brandon Specktor, Live Science