A Super Blood Wolf Moon will give eager stargazers alluring views on Monday, January 21. The astrological event will showcase a trifecta of lunar activities, with a Super Moon, Blood Moon and Wolf Moon combined. The event will be the last total lunar eclipse until May 26, 2021 and happens about every one to three years on average.
The spectacular astronomical phenomenon will see the Sun, Earth and Moon in a straight line for a short amount of time so the entire Moon is shielded from the Sun’s rays.
This will send a reddish glow through Earth’s atmosphere and result in a total eclipse.
US space agency NASA expects the eclipse to reach zenith about 5.13am UK time (UTC) over the Western Hemisphere.
But despite the astronomical event being a regular occurrence throughout history, many cultures and religions have tried to attribute blood moons as signs of an impending catastrophe.
What is the meaning of the Full Moon?
Some Christian theorists have long associated Blood Moons with a bad omen and end of time prophecies found in the Bible’s Book of Joel and the Book of Revelations.
Joel 2:30-31 read: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.”
The Blood Moon is also featured in the Book of Revelations in passage 6:12, which states: “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.”
For many, this may sound conspiratorial but the fact is there is some logic to this notion.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), earthquakes can be up to three times more likely during high tides, which appears when a Full Moon is present.
The agency said: “You must stop and realise that the background probability is, in general, very low in a given place and year (fractions of a percent), so that raising this tiny probability by a factor of 3 during high tides still results in a very tiny probability.”
However, the USGS cautions the increased likelihood still means they’re very unlikely.
A study from 2016 done by Nature Geoscience found the tides that occur during full and new Moons may be connected to a slightly higher likelihood of high magnitude earthquakes around the world.
Lunar eclipses occur when the Full Moon passes into the shadow of the side of the Earth facing away from the Sun.
And because a lunar eclipse only takes place during a full moon, tides are higher during this time.
But according to NASA a Super Moon does not cause floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, severe weather or tsunamis.
SPACE.com explains tidal forces around the world will be particularly high and low, with the moon exerting 42 per cent more force at its closest point to Earth than it does at its farthest.
However, this extra force doesn’t have an appreciable effect on disasters.
But religion aside, lunar eclipses have also been hailed as dangerous in other ancient cultures.
Inca researcher David Dearborn told National Geographic: “The Inca didn’t see eclipses as being anything at all good.”
The Incas, who dominated parts of South America in the mid-15th to 16th century, believed a jaguar would eat the moon during lunar eclipses.
This belief is also common in some Chinese cultures.