When and where you can watch the total lunar eclipse happening tonight and tomorrow morning. (USA TODAY, USA NOW)
Tuesday’s first of four lunar ”blood moon” eclipses will mark a major earth-shattering event, depending on your viewpoint — either the possible start of the end of the world or Tax Day. It could also be just a spectacularly beautiful astronomical event over the next two years.
The tetrad — or four consecutive and complete lunar eclipses occurring at approximately six month intervals — will all be visible over the United States during 2014 -2015, according to NASA lunar eclipse expert Fred Espenak.
While Espenak sees it as a frequent and naturally occurring event, bestselling author and Texas televangelist pastor John Hagee sees the four blood moons as evidence of a future ”world-shaking event,” possibly the beginning of the end of the world.
The controversial 73-year-old founder of Texas’ Cornerstone Church says he has been preparing for the tetrad for years. The preparation includes a book — Blood Moons: Something is About to Change and an online TV special April 15.
”What is the prophetic significance [of the four blood moons]? Is this the end of the age?” Hagee asked his congregation during a sermon shortly after his book released,Christianity Today reports.
He cites Acts 2:19-20 as a sign: ”And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
Hagee, who sees the tetrad as particularly meaningful for Israel, says previous tetrads, in 1492, 1948, and 1967, coincided with such events as the expulsion of Jews from Spain at the end of the Inquisition,statehood for Israel, and the Six-day War.
NASA’s Espenak does not consider tetrads as particularly rare, noting in a statement that there are nine sets of tetrads during the 21st century. He notes that there have been periods with no tetrads, notably from 1600 to 1900.
”The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA,” Espenak said in a prepared statement.
The full eclipse is known as a ”blood moon” because, NASA explains, the sunset red glow that rings the earth as it blocks the light from the sun is cast upon the moon.
The first one in this tetrad begins at 2 a.m. ET on April 15. The other dates are Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015 and Sept. 28, 2015.
In 2008, Hagee was criticized for suggesting that Hurricane Katrina was a result of God’s wrath toward the city of New Orleans for planning a rally for gays and lesbians.