A Lunar eclipse occurred last night, with the Moon slipping into the Earth’s shadow.  The refraction of light through the Earth’s atmosphere created the reddish hue, not quite darkening our sister planet. (The Earth and Moon are more accurately a binary planet system, rather than a primary and satellite system.)

The term “Blood Moon” seems to be the result of the media glomming onto a doomsday prophet, ‘end of the world’, God is coming book seller.  It doesn’t seem to have any historical relevance, but since it’s caught the fancy of reporters around the world, we’re stuck with it.  Some have gone so far as to claim it’s a sign from God, warning President Obama (about something… pick a wingnut cause and use that, for all the sense they make).

Several more of these eclipses will happen in the next few years, just as they’ve happened ever since the Moon reached it’s current orbital distance from the Earth.  (the Moon used to be much closer to Earth, but tidal friction and orbital dynamics have been moving it further away ever since it formed.  Using devices left on there by the Apollo missions, we can measure that movement precisely.)

Space Cadet Jimmiejoe contributed to this blog.