Celestial watch: rare eclipse activities

Eclipse bxp31330h

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According to NASA’s predictions, a condensed pattern of rare solar and lunar activity is on the horizon.

A series of four total lunar eclipses, where the moon passes behind Earth and appears red in color, will occur over the next two years. This series is what is known as a blood moon tetrad. The first one will be visible the evening of April 14 into the early morning of April 15, the same night as Passover.

NASA also predicts that a variety of solar eclipses will occur in conjunction with the tetrad and continue after it ends. These eclipses will include total, annular and hybrid.

The rare pattern has generated conversation among some Christians concerning biblical passages that prophesize such activity shortly preceding the Day of the Lord.

Eclipses can occur biannually, so they are not that unusual. However, many of these celestial events will fall on Israel’s Feast Days.

“The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar,” associate professor of mathematics and physics Timothy Heumier said. “So it is reasonable to say that eclipses would happen on Feast Days.”

While some blood moon tetrads have aligned with Israel’s Feast Day calendar before, none included a conjoining array of solar eclipses.

Apart from providing light, the luminaries have a special purpose. Genesis 1:14 says, “’Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.”

Since God sometimes uses eclipses as signs, such as in Matthew 27:45, some believers say it makes sense why Jesus states in Luke 21:25 that “signs in the sun, moon and stars” would signal his return.

Christians who believe this may be a sign of the end times point to biblical passages that reiterate the significance of simultaneously occurring solar and lunar eclipses, such as Acts 2:20, Joel 2:31 and Revelation 6:12. Each one states that Jesus will return after the sun darkens and moon turns red.

“I think there is a healthy balance in being aware of possible signs of his return along with always having the urgency to expand his Kingdom,” freshman music and worship major Melanie Tierce said.

The eclipse schedule and other data are available on NASA’s website.