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‘Blood moon’ to grace Nigerian skies on July 27

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BLOOD MOON

*Skygazers can enjoy longest total lunar eclipse of 21st century
*Celestial event reignites debate on Christian doomsday prophecy
*Red planet will pass closer to Earth than it has done for 15 years

Nigeria and most other parts of the world will on July 27, 2018 experience blood moon- a spectacular total lunar eclipse.

According to the Science News, Nigeria will experience total lunar eclipse, which would be fully visible in Lagos.

Also, timeanddate.com reported on all eclipses worldwide from 1900 to 2100. It noted that there would be total lunar eclipse on July 27, 2018 and January 21, 2019; partial lunar eclipse on July 16/17, 2019; transit mercury eclipse on November 21, 2019; and penumbral lunar eclipse January 10, 2020.

According to Fundamental Astronomy, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind Earth and into its shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are aligned (in syzygy) exactly or very closely so, with the planet in between. Hence, a lunar eclipse can occur only on the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend on the Moon’s proximity to either node of its orbit.

During a total lunar eclipse, Earth completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. The only light reflected from the lunar surface has been refracted by Earth’s atmosphere. This light appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does: the Rayleigh scattering of bluer light. Due to this reddish colour, a totally eclipsed Moon is sometimes called a blood moon.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can be viewed only from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth. A total lunar eclipse lasts a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts only a few minutes as viewed from any given place, due to the smaller size of the Moon’s shadow. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full Moon.

According to a report by DailyMailUK Online, the lunar event, which takes place on July 27, will be visible to most people living in the Eastern hemisphere and will last for 103 minutes — four minutes short of the longest possible duration an eclipse could last.

The total eclipse is set to last for one hour 43 minutes, but a partial eclipse will be visible for almost four hours.

The total eclipse begins at 7:30 pm UTC (8:30 BST), and ends at 9:13 pm UTC (10:13 BST).

The peak of the eclipse will occur at 8:22 pm UTC (9:22 BST).

Mathematically, the longest an eclipse could ever last is one hour 47 minutes, and the longest eclipse of the 20th Century (1901-2000) happened on July 16, 2000.

This period of total eclipse lasted for one hour 46.4 minutes.

Only those in the Eastern Hemisphere will be able to view the upcoming event, with people in Europe, Africa and Asia getting the best seats for the lunar show.

Skygazers in South America will be able to see part of the final stages of the eclipse just after sunset on July 27.

In contrast, New Zealanders will be able to watch the start of the eclipse before sunrise July 28.

Also, on July 27, Mars will pass closer to Earth than it has done for 15 years.

The phenomenon, known as perihelic opposition, will make the red planet appear larger and brighter than normal in the night sky.

The rare event occurs when Mars reaches its closest point to the sun as the same time as Earth’s orbit brings it directly between the two.

Although the actual point of opposition will take place on July 27, Mars will be noticeably larger for the majority of the month of July.

Perihelic opposition can be seen with the naked eye, meaning there’s no need for expensive equipment for stargazers to spot the rare event next month.

Meanwhile, there is a twist: the expected astronomical event has reignited the blood moon prophecy.

According to Washington Post, the blood moon prophecy was a series of apocalyptic beliefs promoted by Christian ministers John Hagee and Mark Biltz, which state that a tetrad (a series of four consecutive lunar eclipses—coinciding on Jewish holidays—with six full moons in between, and no intervening partial lunar eclipses) which began with the April 2014 lunar eclipse is a sign of the beginning of the end times as described in the Bible in the Book of Joel, Acts 2:20, and Revelation 6:12. The tetrad ended with the lunar eclipse on September 27–28, 2015.

On April 15, 2014, there was a total lunar eclipse which was the first of four consecutive total eclipses in a series, known as a tetrad; a second one took place on October 8, 2014, the third one on April 4, 2015, and the remaining one took place on September 27, 2015. It is one of eight tetrads to take place during the 21st century AD. As with most lunar eclipses, the moon appeared red during the April 15, 2014, eclipse. The red colour is caused by Rayleigh scattering of sunlight through the Earth’s atmosphere, the same effect that causes sunsets to appear red. Hagee also connects the solar eclipse of March 20, 2015, in the middle of the sequence.

The idea of a “blood moon” serving as an omen of the coming of the end times comes from the Book of Joel, where it is written “the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.” Saint Peter again mentions this phrase during Pentecost, as recorded in Acts, although Peter says that the date of Pentecost, not some future date, was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. The blood moon also appears in the Book of Revelation chapter 6 verses 11 – 13, where verse 12 says ” And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood”.

Around 2008, Biltz began predicting that the Second Coming of Jesus would occur in the fall of 2015 with the seven years of the great tribulation beginning in the fall of 2008. He said he had “discovered” an astronomical pattern that predicted the next tetrad would coincide with the end times. When the prediction failed, he pulled the article from his website, but continued to teach on the “significance” of the tetrad.

Hagee would later seize on Biltz’ prediction to write Four Blood Moons, which would become a best seller, spending more than 150 days in Amazon.com’s top 150 by April 2014. For the week ending March 30, 2014, it was the ninth best selling paperback, according to Publishers Weekly. By mid-April, Hagee’s book had hit No. 4 on The New York Times best-seller list in the advice category. Hagee’s book (and subsequent sermon series at his home congregation, Cornerstone Church) did not proclaim that any specific “end times” event would occur (as did Biltz in his original prophecy), but claimed that every prior tetrad of the last 500 years coincided with events in Jewish and Israeli history that were originally tragic, yet followed by triumph.

Hagee and Biltz’s speculations gained mainstream media attention in publications such as USA Today and The Washington Post.


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