Another post to help people scared of perfectly normal harmless events because of the sensationalist press and false prophets. This is just the moon passing through Earth’s shadow as it does usually once or twice a year. It’s done it for billions of years. Usually it passes above or below Earth’s shadow at full moon, and occasionally it passes through it, and that’s the lunar eclipse.
Half the world can see a lunar eclipse, the entire night side of Earth at the time of the event. It is far easier to see than a solar eclipse which needs you to live on or travel to a narrow eclipse track where the Moon’s shadow briefly touches the surface of the Earth.
Here are some guides about how to observe it. In the US:
In the UK
The sensationalist ‘red top tabloids’ in the UK, same people who brought us “Freddie Starr ate my hamster”, are scaring many people by running a video by Paul Begley who claims the world might end imminently as a result of this eclipse. He does that for every lunar eclipse. But eclipses are totally harmless.
The name has a lot to do with why they are getting scared. But there is nothing scary about this name if you know what the words mean.
So first here is a brief summary of why it has that name in the popular press
- The ‘wolf’ just means it is a January eclipse - it’s a term from North America where they have a different name for the full moon for each month of the year.
- Super means that the eclipse happens at the time of its orbit when the moon is closest to Earth (perigee). This can happen at any phase of the moon, if it is at full moon it’s called a supermoon (term from astrology). It is only a little bit closer, and you won’t notice any difference in size visually
- And blood just refers to the colour. It’s the colour of sunsets and sunrises shining on the distant moon as we’ll see. You might as well call a red sunset a “blood sunset”, it’s got nothing to do with blood.
You have lived through many eclipses. But lunar eclipses don’t get a lot of publicity apart from the people who say the world will end. It is worth having a look if you haven’t seen one before. Indeed you have lived through a super wolf blood moon too. The last one was January 2018, when this same preacher also said the world was about to end as a result. That one happened to be a "blue" moon as well, second full moon in a month, so they called it a "super blue blood moon". I suppose it was too many adjectivees to call it a "super blue wolf blood moon".
Here are some of the lunar eclipses that have happened in your lifetime, this is a list starting from 2000, look for the entries that say "Total"
WHAT IS A TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON?
It is a total eclipse if the whole of the Moon is shadowed by Earth at some point. The Moon can go any colour that a sunset or sunrise goes - so yellow, orange, red , grey, etc. It is really sunset or sunrise coloured not “blood” coloured.
Calling this a “blood moon” is a bit like calling an especially red sunset a “blood sunset”. It has absolutely nothing to do with blood. No more a “blood moon” than a red sunset is a “blood sunset”.
Often it’s more of a bronzy colour, sometimes very dim, and it’s not nearly as bright as a full Moon. This can make it hard to notice any colour in it sometimes, because our eyes are not very sensitive to colour at low light levels. People vary a lot in this so some may find it reddish and others not notice much colour. Meanwhile to a sensitive camera it may look bright red. Most of the photographs you see published are much redder than it seemed to naked eye.
Anyway it might look like this, bronzy in colour:
This is how it works, just the moon passing through Earth’s shadow.
The Moon looks much closer than it is. It's actually larger in surface area than Africa, sometimes called our eighth continent. It is so far away that it took more than two whole days, 55 hours, for the Apollo 10 astronauts to get back traveling at the fastest speed relative to Earth that any human has gone of an average of 24,816 mph.
WHAT ABOUT THE ‘BLOOD’ - IF YOU WERE LIVING ON THE MOON
Actually the Moon itself does change colour. If you were living on the Moon you’d see the landscape go red, like this:
This painting of the Earth as seen from the Moon during an eclipse is by Lucien Rudaux, space artist, living in first half of the twentieth century. Long before anyone had ever visited the Moon. The first science artist to draw accurate pictures of Mars and the Moon
There, you can see the ring around the Earth in that painting. Well, that’s the light from all the sunrises and sunsets around the Earth at the moment of the eclipse. It’s rather poetic.
Anyway the colour varies just as much as for a normal sunset. Sometimes yellow, orange, bronzy colour, red, etc. Sometimes just a dark gray. All depends on what the weather happens to be in that narrow ring of atmosphere that’s between the sun and the Moon at the time of the eclipse.
You can’t really say in advance what colour it’s going to be.
The term 'blood moon' originally referred to four lunar eclipses in a tetrad, made popular during a false prophecy that the world would end on September 28 2014, but now is used to refer to every lunar eclipse in the popular press.
CAN I SEE IT?
You can check to see if it is visible in your part of the world here:
You can click on the map on to find out when it starts and ends at your location.
What you need to look at is when the partial phase begins and ends. You don’t see anything for the “penumbral phase” - it is a very slight dimming that hardly anyone will notice.
The partial phase starts with a tiny dark nibble out of the Moon that slowly spreads. it takes a long time, over an hour, before the shadow covers the entire Moon. At that point then it gets darker, and the Moon changes colour, to reddish, or bronze or gray etc. That’s the total phase and then the maximum is when it is closest to the middle of Earth’s shadow and so a little darker.
The total eclipse starts at midnight on the 20th on the East coast and about 9 pm or earlier on the West coast of the US.
Lunar eclipses are slow. So you will probably want to go out from time to time to see each stage rather than stand outside watching it all, unless you are very keen.
But if you haven't seen one it's well worth going out to see a somewhat reddish or orangey moon
WHAT ABOUT THE ‘SUPER’?
The moon's orbit is sometimes closer to Earth (perigee) and sometimes further. Happens every lunar month.
So it has to be closest to us at some point in the month, which could be the new moon, crescent moon, half moon, or gibous moon,. or full moon.
When it is closest at full moon, that’s called a “supermoon”, a term from astrology, not astronomy. That gives the highest “Spring tides”
Moon distance with full & new The filled in circles are when it is closest. When those are at the bottom of the graph then it is a supermoon. The moon’s orbital shape changes, sometimes more circular and sometimes less circular. When it is most elliptical and also is closest during full moon, that’s when you get the largest “supermoons”
Usually three or four of the twelve or thirteen full moons in each year are supermoons.
The one on November 14, 2016 was the closest full supermoon since January 26, 1948, and is closer than any future supermoon until November 25, 2034.
It being closer or further away won't do anything to you. It leads to slightly higher spring tides. Every year some of the tides are higher due to super moons and some lower due to micromoons. During a supermoon you are lighter by a ninth of the mass of a paperclip due to the combined effect of the sun and the somewhat looser Moon.
It is a very minute effect.
WHAT ABOUT THE ‘WOLF’
It’s just a name customarily used for a full moon in January. Complete list, mainly based on North American Indian names:
- January: Wolf Moon
- February: Snow Moon
- March: Worm Moon
- April: Pink Moon
- May: Flower Moon
- June: Strawberry Moon
- July: Buck Moon
- August: Sturgeon Moon
- September: Harvest Moon
- October: Hunter's Moon
- November: Beaver Moon
- December: Cold Moon
PAUL BEGLEY ALWAYS SAYS THE WORLD WILL END DURING LUNAR ECLIPSES - AND ON MANY OTHER OCCASIONS AS WELL
The ‘red top’ tabloids, same ones that brought us “Freddie Starr ate my hamster”, the made up story about a famous comedian of his time eating a model friend’s hamster in a sandwich, is running the story like this:
They are promoting a YouTube blogger called Paul Begley who is notorious for prophesying the world will end many times a year. He prophesied the world would end during both the last lunar eclipses and on many other occasions last year.
He does this so often, he surely wouldn’t cancel a dental appointment because it is inconveniently scheduled for after his next end of world forecast. You also shouldn’t pay any attention to him. He is a false prophet and the Bible warns about them, that the fruit of their teachings is bitter. He is not only a one time false prophet, but a serial false prophet who prophecies the end of the world on date after date, year in, year out.
He doesn’t say the world will end on this date, but he says it might end soon after this date, that you can’t say it won’t. Perhaps he thinks putting it like that means he isn’t a false prophet?
This is one of the Daily Express articles about it:
THESE VIDEOS ARE BIG BUCKS FOR HIM
So, why do people say the world will end with almost every lunar eclipse?
Well first, it’s big money for some people. According to SocialBlade Paul Begley earns over $100,000 a year from YouTube ads on his channel which has over 300,000 subscribers, and constantly runs false Doomsdays year in year out. paulbegley34 YouTube Stats, Channel Statistics.
There I’m going by the upper end of their range because the only one of the doomsday prophets on You Tube to disclose their earnings that I know of, Steve Olsen , was earning more than double the highest social blade estimate. If you scale the figures up in the same way as for Steve Olsen he could be earning as much as a quarter of a million dollars a year from his channel. For more on this: YouTube channels to avoid - constantly post fake end of world videos and some earning $1000s a month
This doesn't mean that this is why he does it.
Some people do prophecy that the world will end without ads. It would be interesting to see if he still prophesied like this if he had no ad revenue on his videos. Perhaps he might.
But he is earning a lot from it and I think YouTube should stop ads on his videos and all the false prophet and false doomsday videos. Because he is earning a lot of money by scaring people like you. And I don't think YouTube would want to support that with ad revenue
CALL ON YOUTUBE TO STOP ADS ON DOOMSDAY VIDEOS
He is able to earn so much from his prophecies because YouTube runs ads on doomsday videos. YouTube already removes ads from many videos on ethical grounds, and I think they should remove them from prophecies and other doomsday videos. See YouTube tightens ad rule enforcement, demonetizing numerous videos.
The problem with these videos is that many people get scared by them. So much so that many of those who contact me about them are under treatment from health professionals for PTSD, GAD, and other anxiety related disorders solely as a result of finding these news stories and videos, and some are suicidal.
I have been getting many PM's over the last few days from really scared people who can't sleep and are terrified the world is about to end.
David Morrison, NASA astrobiologist and former director of the Sagan Institute first brought our attention to this issue in 2012 - see this video. Our very active Doomsday Debunked group on Facebook gets many posts from scared and sometimes suicidal people asking for reassurance, and often what scares them most are YouTube doomsday videos, and the red top tabloid stories that feature them, because they often go to the top of Google / Apple News and Facebook trending search results, and for someone searching on their computer or mobile phone it is all just ‘News’.
There has been at least one confirmed suicide as a result of the 2012 scare, and David Morrison says that anecdotally he was told of several more. From the posts and PM’s we get from suicidal people it’s not at all impossible that some of these fake doomsdays send people over the edge to suicide, especially if they have tendencies that way already.
If you want to help make a difference, you can sign and share these petitions- and do have a look at the comments to get an idea of the scale of the problem. Click “Join Conversation” to see more of them.
- To Youtube: Halt Ads on Doomsday Videos
- To Journalists: Debunk Rather than Dramatize "Doomsday" Stories - The Vulnerable Get Suicidal
- To Google, Apple and Facebook - please stop promoting fake red top tabloid news
BUT IS IT A “SIGN” AND A PROPHECY THAT THE WORLD WILL END? - NO
No. Paul Begley prophecies the end of the world at the drop of a hat. He does it many times every year. Some of the ones that hit the news in the sensationalist press, both of the lunar eclipses in 2018:
- Why a super blue ‘blood’ red (or sunrise or sunset red) moon is nothing to worry about - this was a previous lunar eclipse in January which he also did a false prophecy about (along with other false prophets that took it up).
- Also, on Feb 10th for a comet combined with the lunar eclipse and "snow moon"
- Debunked: July 27 “blood moon” - NOT end of world - just moon passing through Earth’s shadow tinted by sunrise and sunset (another Paul Begley prophecy)
He also frequently says the world will end for other reasons. This is one he did on boxing day in 2017
- Pastor Paul Begley’s latest false prophecy based on a fake news about a drill FEMA do four times a year. One of the posts on Facebook about this false prophecy had well over 150,000 shares in a couple of days, and I continued to get PM’s from scared people about it for some time after.
- Debunked: Pastor Paul Bagley predicts that Magnetar SGR 1806-20 is going to send a gamma ray blast on 26th December which will be devastating to Earth when he claimed we would be hit by a gamma ray burst from a megnetar (a weak form of gamma ray emission that can't harm anyone on Earth except cause satellite glitches and can't be predicted, didn't happen)
He does many a year, those are some of the ones that got people scared enough so I needed to do a debunk for them.
And as for the sensationalist press, you’ve probably “survived” several hundred Daily Express “end of the world” dates in your lifetime. It’s utter garbage as usual.
The Moon passing into Earth’s shadow, as it usually does about once or twice a year, is not going to harm anyone. Why would it?
WHERE IS IT IN THE BIBLE?
So where does this idea come from that the world ends during a lunar eclipse? Not explicitly in the Bible. It is not strong on astronomy and it doesn’t mention any of the planets by name or any of the constellations of the zodiac, for instance.
There are passages in the bible about the sun going dark and the moon going red. Which are not very clear, enigmatic, but these can’t be describing a lunar eclipse
The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. Bible Gateway passage: Joel 2:31 - English Standard Version
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Bible Gateway passage: Matthew 24:29 - English Standard Version
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Revelation 6:12-14
More passages here: What Does the Bible Say About The Red Moon?
Yes, the sun goes dark for a few minutes in a solar eclipse when the moon passes in front of the sun at the time of new moon, if you are in just the right place, the eclipse track, to stand in the shadow of the Moon.
Yes, the moon goes a dark red or orange or yellow when it is the opposite side of Earth from the sun, during full moon.
The lunar eclipse however is always at least two weeks away from a solar eclipse. So the biblical passages are astronomically impossible.
And the moon goes red once or twice a year most years from a lunar eclipse. They would have been familiar with luanr eclipses back then. It can't mean lunar eclipses.
So, this is not describing any possible astronomical event.
It’s much like the super blue blood moon we had earlier on Jan 31st, and then again, Paul Begley told us that it was a sign that the world was going to end soon. Of course, nothing happened.
- Short summary - why the super blue blood moon on Jan 31 can’t harm us
- Debunked: The world will end because ‘It’s a sign’ (also goes into numerology and spurious coincidences)
- Why you can ignore all date setting prophecies based on the Bible - no dates in it
Search the debunks using e.g. site:debunkingdoomsday.quora.com Nibiru - Google Search
Twitter feed: DoomsdayDebunked (@DoomsdayDebunks) | Twitter
Facebook group Doomsday Debunked has been set up to help anyone who is scared by these fake doomsdays.
TOP NEWS WITHOUT THE FAKE SENSATIONALIST NONSENSE
I’ve used Google’s option to make a custom search engine to search top mainstream reputable news sites. Various versions, see:
It is not as good as the Google News search, sadly, for some reason they all have a tendency to show up irrelevant sites, but it can be a way to research into more reliable sites than the ones that appear at the top of Google News itself.
This shows how easily Google could fix it though, if they were to decide to exclude red top tabloids from these stories.
IF YOU NEED HELP
If you are suicidal don’t forget there’s always help a phone call away with the List of suicide crisis lines - Wikipedia
SEVEN TIPS FOR DEALING WITH DOOMSDAY FEARS
If you are scared: Seven tips for dealing with doomsday fears which also talks about health professionals and how they can help.
Do message me on Quora or PM me on Facebook if you need help. There are several others in the group who are available to support scared people via PM and who can post debunks to the group. See our debunkers list.