Home Science & Space What’s a Blood Moon, what causes a Pink Moon, and when is the following one?

What’s a Blood Moon, what causes a Pink Moon, and when is the following one?

What’s a Blood Moon, what causes a Pink Moon, and when is the following one?


A Blood Moon is a casual identify for a complete lunar eclipse when the Earth is aligned between the Solar and the Moon, and our satellite tv for pc fully enters the cone of the Earth’s shadow (referred to as the umbra). Below this situation, the Moon acquires a crimson tint, which is why it’s popularly nicknamed Blood or Pink Moon.

What makes a Blood Moon crimson?

shema of a total Lunar Eclipse
Whole Lunar Eclipse. Credit score: timeanddate.com

As we recall, our pure satellite tv for pc doesn’t emit gentle however displays the sunshine of the Solar. When the Earth fully hides the Solar from the Moon, daylight is refracted and scattered, passing by the Earth’s environment, however primarily within the blue and inexperienced spectrum, so throughout a complete eclipse solely the rays of the crimson spectrum attain our satellite tv for pc. That’s what causes a Blood Moon.

In 1912, French astronomer André-Louis Danjon proposed a scale for measuring lunar eclipses.

Danjon Scale for total lunar eclipses
Picture Credit score: UC Riverside

The color vary and brightness throughout an eclipse are measured utilizing the Danjon Scale. It consists of 5 factors: from 0 (the Moon is sort of invisible) to 4 (a really shiny crimson or orange eclipse). If there may be quite a lot of mud, smoke or clouds within the environment, the crimson color could also be darker and have a brown tint. If the environment is clear, then the shade might be shiny and wealthy.

Why Can We See a Blood Moon Solely Throughout a Whole Eclipse?

Why can we see a Blood Moon only during a total eclipse
Picture credit score: NASA

Earlier than answering this query, let’s discover out what triggers an eclipse. For the phenomenon to happen, two situations are obligatory on the similar time: a full moon and the proximity of our satellite tv for pc to the node of its orbit (to the purpose the place its orbit intersects the ecliptic aircraft). At every second of an eclipse, the diploma of the lunar disk’s protection by the earth’s shadow is expressed by the part of the eclipse. The magnitude of the part is set by the space from the centre of the Moon to the centre of the shadow. On this regard, scientists distinguish three varieties of lunar eclipses: whole, partial, and penumbral.

As we now have already discovered, a complete eclipse happens, when the lunar disk fully falls into the umbra (Earth’s shadow) and acquires a crimson hue. A partial eclipse is a state of affairs the place solely a part of the disc falls into the Earth’s shadow, and thus solely a part of it might seem crimson. When our satellite tv for pc falls into the penumbra — the Earth’s half-shadow (see picture above) — a penumbral eclipse happens. On this case, the Moon darkens solely somewhat, and the impact of colouring in crimson will not be noticed.

What Is a Tremendous Blood Wolf Moon?

Tremendous Blood Wolf Moon is a sort of whole lunar eclipse that happens throughout a Supermoon and Wolf Moon. Sure, you shouldn’t be stunned, our satellite tv for pc is so many-sided that it has dozens of names.

A Supermoon is a full moon when our satellite tv for pc is at its closest distance from the Earth and seems bigger and brighter than typical. The primary full moon in January is often referred to as the Wolf Moon. This identify was given to the phenomenon by the Indians of North America, who related the January crescent with wolves howling on a chilly winter evening.

Additionally, our satellite tv for pc is probably not crimson however blue, which suggests the second full moon in a single calendar month. You most likely learn about this should you learn our article about August Blue Moon.

Different Causes for the Moon to Change into Pink

red moon over woods
Why the Moon generally appears to be like crimson. Credit score: skyatnightmagazine.com

A complete eclipse isn’t the one time our satellite tv for pc can seem crimson. There are different components, however they’re all associated to the scattering of sunshine within the Earth’s environment.

The Moon Is Near Horizon

The lunar floor might seem crimson simply after it rises or simply earlier than it units. Simply as within the case of dawn and sundown, gentle from the lunar disk passes by the layers of the environment, and the nearer it’s to the horizon, the higher the “impediment” space the sunshine should overcome. A number of the mirrored gentle is scattered, inflicting the phantasm that the Earth’s satellite tv for pc is popping crimson.

Polluted Air 

In areas of forest fires, hurricanes or volcanic eruptions, the air is crammed with particles of small particles, smoke, ash and mud, which partially obscure the sunshine from the Solar and Moon. So, if the Moon is excessive within the sky and seems crimson, it might be because of air air pollution.

Blood Moon legends and myths from all over the world

Blood Moon legends
Terror of the Peruvians throughout a Moon eclipse, from ‘Le Costume Ancien et Moderne’. Credit score: Brewminate

At present, after we know the character of the phenomenon, we are able to admire it within the evening sky with none worry or prejudice. However historical individuals related the crimson moon with numerous occasions, which gave rise to many myths, legends and beliefs.


The individuals of historical Mesopotamia believed that the Pink Moon foreshadowed battle, famine, and illness. They tried to stop these troubles by changing the king with a figurehead through the eclipse in order that he would tackle all of the evil destiny. After the eclipse, the false king was killed, and the true king returned to the throne.

Historical China

In historical China, individuals believed the Moon turned crimson when the celestial dragon devoured it. To scare the dragon away, they beat drums and gongs, made loud noises, and shot with bows and crossbows. Additionally they sacrificed to the lunar goddess Chang’e to guard the moon from the dragon.

Medieval Europe

In medieval Europe, individuals related the Crimson Moon with the apocalypse and the second coming of Christ. They relied on biblical prophecies that mentioned that earlier than the day of judgment, the Solar would darken and the Moon would flip bloody. Additionally they related a complete lunar eclipse with witchcraft, witches, and vampires who allegedly gained energy from lunar blood.

How Did the Pink Moon Save the Lifetime of Christopher Columbus?

Columbus and the Red Moon legend
Legend about Columbus and the Pink Moon. Credit score: nineplanets.org

One of the crucial well-known crimson moon tales occurred in 1504 when Christopher Columbus and his crew have been stranded on the island of Jamaica. At first, the native Arawak tribe have been pleasant to them and provided them with meals, however quickly relations soured, and the Arawak refused to assist. Columbus realized that his individuals have been in peril of hunger until he discovered a strategy to persuade the Arawak to cooperate.

Happily, the navigator had an almanack, which indicated the dates and instances of lunar eclipses. He determined to make use of this data to impress and intimidate the natives. Having calculated when the following Pink Moon is, Columbus advised the aborigines that the Christian god was sad that the white individuals weren’t getting meals, and that he would punish the Arawak for this by making the moon crimson. When this really occurred, the Arawak have been scared and introduced Columbus and his males plenty of meals, begging him to wish for them. Columbus agreed and mentioned that he would persuade God to return the moon to regular. That is how he saved himself and his crew.

When Is the Subsequent Blood Moon In 2024?

On common, whole eclipses make up about 35% of all lunar eclipses, and you may see a crimson lunar disk in the identical place about as soon as each 2.5 years. However in 2024, area has disadvantaged us of this pleasure. In response to timeanddate.com, this yr, we could have one penumbral eclipse on March 25 and one partial eclipse on September 17-18. Each might be extremely seen within the UK and Europe and final simply over 4 hours.

However 2025 will absolutely compensate for this. We can see the crimson moon within the UK twice: March 14 and September 7.

Try NASA’s detailed calendar of all lunar eclipses by 2030. To search out out the eclipse begin time to your location, use the Eclipse Information app.

The way to Observe the Blood Eclipse?

total lunar eclipse
A complete lunar eclipse generally is a spectacular sight to behold. Credit score: NASA/Rami Daud

In contrast to a complete photo voltaic eclipse, which is just seen from Earth alongside a really slender path for only a few minutes, a complete lunar eclipse may be noticed by nearly everybody with the bare eye on the evening facet of the Earth. On this case, the potential length of the whole part of a lunar eclipse can attain 108 minutes; such have been, for instance, the lunar eclipses of July 26, 1953 and July 16, 2000. These lengthy whole eclipses are referred to as central eclipses as a result of our satellite tv for pc passes by the centre of the Earth’s shadow.

For a cushty and full commentary of the bloody eclipse, you’ll need to discover a place away from metropolis buildings and different obstacles that obscure your view (forest, mountains), and discover a part of the sky with out clouds and lightweight air pollution.

If you wish to make the commentary much more fascinating and academic, you should use binoculars, a telescope, a digital camera, and even a smartphone digital camera with a sophisticated zoom. With their assist, you may see extra particulars of the lunar floor, take stunning footage or report movies.

Let’s go attempting to find the Blood Moon!

Now that you understand what causes a Blood Moon and when is the following one, it’s excessive time to prepare for commentary. In any case, this can be a distinctive and thrilling phenomenon that’s price seeing not less than as soon as in your life. However don’t neglect that our satellite tv for pc may also look crimson in different attention-worthy conditions.

References and Extra Info:

  • Pure Historical past Museum, “Lunar eclipse information: what they’re, when to see them and the place”
  • Eclipses 2024 of Solar and Moon to schedule your dates and never miss them
  • Columbus and the Night time of the Bloody Moon https://www.theguardian.com/science/1999/jul/15/technology
  • Watching Lunar Eclipses
  • Tremendous blood wolf moon: What to know and the way to watch it



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