Astronomers call these lunar spectacles rare and there was a time when they happened once in a blue moon, but now we seem to be getting ultra blood hyper-mega moons every few weeks. They're all given bizarre names and they all seem to be bringing with them death and destruction.
The first of this year's rare moons will be visible over the Americas and western parts of Europe on 21st January. A preacher has described the astral event as the "harbinger of apocalypse."
On Monday night the sky will be lit up with the orange glow from a super blood wolf moon as it undergoes a total lunar eclipse. To break down that name... the word 'super' refers to the fact it'll appear larger in the sky than normal, 'blood' is due to its deep orange colour and 'wolf' is name given to the first full moon of the year.
So, basically the first full moon of the year will appear super close, a deep reddish-orange colour, and we'll get to see a total lunar eclipse. An eclipse is caused when the Moon passes through Earth's shadow, it will gradually become smaller as the shadow moves across it until only a tiny crescent remains, before vanishing all together.
While fans of astronomy will be making the most of this rare opportunity, it seems that some will instead be taking cover and preparing for an armageddon. Apparently it all relates to a passage in the Hebrew Bible, which states "the Sun will turn into darkness, and the Moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes." Those who believe this latest doomsday prediction think that the eclipse will bring with it a tragic event with the potential to destroy the world.
One evangelical preacher on YouTube has confirmed this prophecy. Pastor Paul Begley told his viewers that the lunar eclipse coincides with the second anniversary of President Donald Trump being sworn into office, which he believes is a sign of dark times ahead.
Pastor Begley said, "I’m not saying on 22nd January all hell's going to break loose, right after the blood moon, and then again I'm not saying it won't." The preacher added, "I truly believe America is going to face some type of disaster and that this super blood moon is a serious harbinger of these last days."
It's not the first time that someone has predicted the end of the world is nigh and linked it to lunar activity. In 2008 two Christian ministers claimed that the apocalypse was due in 2015. The knowledge of a pending blood moon that year was added to this and it became known as "the blood moon prophecy."
The last end of days prophecy came less than a year ago when the most recent blood moon eclipse took place, albeit not a "super" or wolf-flavoured one. The event took place in July and we were told that all life on Earth was about to be wiped, but when nothing happened the prediction was bumped forward to this month's lunar event.
In reality is there's nothing spooky about the Moon turning red, even if the event does have the word 'wolf' in its name. Despite the term "moonlight," the Moon doesn't generate any light itself. The light that reaches us from the Moon is regular sunlight reflecting off of the lunar surface. Because the eclipse is caused by the Earth getting in the way and blocking that light, the Moon goes dark.
However in the case of a blood moon, the sunlight is turned red, just like it does at sunset and sunrise here on Earth. It's due to a phenomenon called Rayleigh Scattering, where short wavelengths of light in the blue spectrum are scattered as they pass through Earth's atmosphere, letting just the longer wavelengths like red and orange pass through and reach the Moon.