The skies will turn a deep shade of red this Friday evening in Europe and Africa, and early Saturday morning in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, in the longest lunar eclipse of the century. The Red Planet (Mars), will be the closest it’s been to Earth in 15 years, and will team up with a bright Blood Moon to make for a rare and impressively eerie sight.
Like previous eclipses, this one that is soon to occur has prompted all sorts of interpretations of its meaning—ranging from “the day of the Lord,” a new beginning, and other “end of times” prophesies, which we won’t elaborate on.
To the ancient Babylonians and Chinese, eclipses could be understood as the foretelling of the death of a king or emperor, and both lunar and solar eclipses could be understood as a terrifying omen of foreboding events, in particular full eclipses.
However, it may also be interpreted to be a favorable opportunity for some—like for King Wen of Zhou (1099–1050 BC), who took it as an auspicious time to overthrow the corrupt King Zhou of the Shang Dynasty, which he did successfully, and founded the Zhou dynasty.
In light of that, the upcoming total lunar eclipse may not altogether be that bad! Hey … we don’t want to be all doom and gloom. At the very least, the ancient scriptures of East and West have all discussed virtue, and that those who cherish virtue will be blessed. So, what’s there to fear? …For good, honest people at least.
Despite the many theories that abound, it’s undeniable that 2018 has been an extraordinary year in terms of celestial phenomena, including the rare super blue Blood Moon in January.
In this week’s rare total eclipse, which is expected to last a leisurely 1 hour and 43 minutes, Mars will draw the closest it has been to Earth in 15 years, nearing at an approximate 58 million kilometers away, making it the third brightest object in the starry sky.
Although those in North America won’t be able to witness this much-prophesied phenomenon, where all five planets shall be visible to the naked eye, The Virtual Telescope Project will offer a live stream online, so everyone can have a little look-see.
To see what time you can see the eclipse in your city, check our NASA’s Lunar Eclipse Explorer.