New Zealanders found themselves looking at the sky to get a glimpse of the lunar eclipse known as the "blood moon". Those in Auckland were not able to see the eclipse due to thick clouds but Kiwis on the eastern part of North Island had a great view. Stargazers were in awe of the moon's blood-red hue.
The people in New Zealand witnessed the eclipse from 6pm to 8:30pm on April 15. According to Stardome Astronomy educator David Bitten, the blood moon was worth watching.
Kiwis who saw the eclipse posted their photos of the blood moon in social media while sent their best pictures to local news outlets.
Blood moon Christian debate
The "blood moon" may have passed but the rare lunar eclipse has sparked an apocalyptic debate among Christians. They said the series of "blood moon" events may have something to do with the return of Jesus Christ.
As the moon moved into Earth's shadow in the wee hours of April 15, onlookers saw a moon with a reddish hue. According to NASA, there are two lunar eclipses annually but what people find unusual is that astronomers expect four blood moons within the next 18 months. Scientists call the four blood moons a tetrad. The blood moons are expected to happen on Jewish holidays.
Several books have been published about the occurrence of the blood moons. Authors have referred to a passage in the Bible which talks about the moon turning into blood. According to Joel 2:31, "the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord."
Another verse in the New Testament refers to the same apocalyptic event. According to Acts 2:20, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord."
Authors and publishers have capitalized on the public's interest in the blood moon. The book by church pastor John Hagee drew the most attention as his "Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change" has become a New York Times best-seller currently at No. 4.
In the controversial book, Hagee said something will happen to Israel because of the four blood moons. The next eclipse with the moon turning red will be on Oct. 8, 2014, April 4 and Sept. 28, 2015. The blood moons on April happen during one of the Jewish holidays known as the Passover while those in October coincide with the celebration of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
Hagee wrote that every time a "tetrad" occurs during Jewish holy days, something "world-changing" and tragic happens to Israel. He said the Rapture will occur in which Christians will be brought to heaven and Israel will go to war as the author called the great "Armageddon" at which time Jesus will return.
However, NASA does not consider the tetrad "especially rare" and announced that there will be eight sets of tetrads by 2100.