The totality – total phase – of the April 4, 2015 lunar eclipse lasted less than five minutes (4:44), making it the shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. It’s perfect for short attention spans! The whole eclipse including penumbral and partial phases lasted several hours. The total lunar eclipse was visible from western North America, eastern Asia, the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. At North American time zones, the greatest eclipse happened before sunrise on April 4 – the morning of April 4, not the evening. From the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia.
Total lunar eclipses are rare – only about one in three lunar eclipses are total. About four to five total eclipses can be seen at any place on Earth in a decade.
Lunar eclipses usually do not occur in any specific order. However, every once in a while, four total lunar eclipses happen in a row. This is called a lunar tetrad. The total lunar eclipses happen 6 months apart. There are at least six full Moons between two total lunar eclipses in a tetrad.
2014-2015 Lunar Tetrad
The first total eclipse in this lunar tetrad was on April 15, 2014. The second was October 8, 2014. The next two will be on:
All four total lunar eclipses will be visible from most of the United States.
According to NASA, the current century – 2001 to 2100 – will have eight tetrads. The first tetrad of the 21st century took place in 2003, and the second will happen in 2014-2015. The first eclipses in each of these tetrads will occur between March and May.
Another End-of-the-world Prophecy?
Some people believe that the tetrad has special significance because the eclipses coincide with important Jewish festivals. The two April lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 occur at the same time as Passover, while the October and September eclipses occur during the Feast of Tabernacle. This, they suggest, is connected to a biblical prophecy of the end of times.
The fact is, eight of the tetrads since the first century have coincided with Jewish holidays without the world going under, so there is no reason to believe that the 2014-2015 tetrad will end the world this time either.
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.”