The moon has always been a source of meaning or significance for human beings. This is especially so in the case of the recent example of the red moon, the last of the four red moons of the lunar tetrad of 2014/2015.
On September 27th- 28th I was determined to see this phenomenon of the red moon. Equipped with my Nikon D810, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Lens, tripod and remote trigger I decided to see if I could see and photograph this event.
The background to this is that a lunar eclipse took place on that night, visible from Europe, Africa, the Americas, the eastern Pacific and western Australia. During an eclipse the moon passes through the earth’s shadow. This may at first give a dark appearance to the moon but because of the effect of the earth’s atmosphere it can take on a range of colours such as brown, red, orange and yellow. During an eclipse there is much less light reaching the moon and being reflected by it, but red light is more able to reach the earth and so we see the moon as red or other related shades.
I have to say it was quite exciting, exhilarating even. First a dark eclipse began to pass across the moon and then gradually the colour changed to orange/red. It doesn’t surprise me that in pagan, astrological and religious traditions the red moon has been seen as a great omen – such phenomena are so evocative. They disrupt the usual pattern in a way that opens up uncertainty and the possibility of change. In the Jewish and Christian scriptures the red moon is occasionally associated with the end of the world as we know it – Joel 2:38, Rev 6:12.
Even as I write, as reported in The Guardian, one American pastor predicts the end of the world today based on literal interpretations of bible prophesy and other events including the red moon. For me the scientific explanation is sufficient. But to experience these phenomena is powerful and may well even invite changes of perspective in the light of what we have witnessed.