Wednesday, August 29, 2007

blood moon

On Aug 28 a blood moon occurred.The reason for the eclipsed moon’s blood-coloured hue is due to light from the sun passing through the earth’s atmosphere, blocking blue and green light, and allowing red and yellow to pass through. The red light passes through it much better than blue light, which is blocked by dust and other stuff in the atmosphere.Blood moons have in the past been associated with angry gods or predictions of doom. Ancients used to see this as a bad omen. Some cultures used to throw stones at the moon because they thought it was being consumed by a dragon. They also thought that something turning the colour of blood was something bad.

In 1504, Explorer Christopher Columbus used this belief to help him during his final trip to the West Indies. After several months of being marooned with his crew on the island of Jamaica, relations with the indigenous population soured and the supply of food stopped.

Fearing starvation, Columbus was aware that a total lunar eclipse would occur on 29 February 1504. He told his `hosts’ that if they did not assist him and his crew, the gods would paint the moon red as a sign of their anger. Right on cue, the lunar eclipse occurred, leaving the indigenous population believing Columbus possessed supernatural powers.

Here is our photo of the eclipse on August 28:

1 comment:

Craig Nelson said...

Chris Columbus's tactic in predicting an eclipse to awe the locals was probably not new.
It was certainly used by others.
In the late 19th century, Ernest Giles, roaming Western Australia, encountered some obstinate Aborigines who threatened to impede his party’s progress.
He told them, who knows how, that the sun was going to ‘disappear’ at a particular time.
The natives fell about laughing and dismissed him as a fool.
After the eclipse, his party proceeded unimpeded, proving yet again that knowledge is power.