Rare 'blood moon' lunar eclipse Monday night

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - For night owls, this week featured another celestial phenomenon. Shortly before 2 a.m. EST on Monday, the Earth positioned itself between the sun and the moon to create the first of four "blood moons" in the next two years.

Instead of being blacked out by the Earth's shadow, the moon glowed red as refracted light hits it.

The fully cycle of blood moons is called a Tetrad.

Tetrad frequency goes through 585-year cycles, according to NASA scientists, which means some centuries could see several Tetrads and others could see none.

Astronomers see it as a naturally occurring cosmic event, but some religious leaders see it as a world-altering event, possibly something that could usher in the end of days.

Texas televangelist John Hagee says he has been preparing for the Tetrad for several years and sees it as being a celestial event that will most greatly affect Israel. He points to Tetrads in the 15th and 20th centuries that coincided with the Spanish Inquisition, the Six Day War and Israel's statehood, according to his most recent book Blood Moons: Something is About to Change.

Usually, the predictions around blood moons are catastrophic.

Or, as Dr. Ray Stanz described in Ghostbusters: "And I looked, and he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became as black as sack cloth, and the moon became as blood."

This blood moon coincided with the Jewish festival of Passover, a commemoration of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt.

However, science calls it a rare and interesting phenomenon that most people are lucky to see once in their lifetimes.

"The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA," longtime NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak said in a prepared statement.

After Tuesday morning's blood moon, the second in the series can be seen Oct. 4. The third will be visible on April 4, 2015, and the final will be visible Sept. 28, 2015.

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