North Americans, get excited for the first blood moon of a tetrad that begins the night of April 14th/15th (that may be the most cryptic sentence I’ve ever written).
A blood moon is the crimson consequence of a total lunar eclipse and takes its name from the color which the moon turns. The tetrad designation comes from four of these eclipses happening consecutively, they’ll be occurring throughout the next two years and will all be viewable from North America.
If you’ve never seen a total lunar eclipse, it results in the moon turning the color of a fresh brick doused in gasoline, set to flame, and viewed through an atmosphere of Russian nesting dolls containing the smog of Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Beijing. The final scarlet shade at its peak is something that could have inspired a few swatches on Dalí’s palette (sí sí sí, mis amigos, Blood Moon Rojo, can you see it here in the jirafa ardiendo?).
The first time I saw a full lunar eclipse was sometime in August of 2007 at four in the morning in San Diego, California, standing outside a club where Eugene Hütz was performing a DJ set. We all wandered from the club to the street, our eyes fixed on the sky and our jaws resting on our chests. Gypsy music over 808s spilled out the front door while we quietly wondered who the magician was that stuffed equable Luna into his top-hat and pulled out ardent Mars. The moment smelled like fresh rose water and the dirty zils of an old tambourine and it’s something you can’t forget without the aid of an unlicensed neurosurgeon and a hammer-drill.
The forthcoming blood moon is occurring at 2am, April 15th, for the east coast of North America, and 11pm, April 14th, for the west coast and will peak an hour later. Mark your calendars. If you have the opportunity, it’s something you won’t want to miss.
The other three blood moons will occur on October 8th, 2014; April 4th, 2015, and September 28th, 2015. All four will be viewable from North America as long as the skies are clear.