Minority Christian groups have predicted the world will end later this month – when they say a ‘blood moon’ will bring about an apocalyptic meteor strike.
Scientists say a ‘blood moon’ will occur on September 28, when the moon passes into the shadow of the earth cast by the Sun (a lunar eclipse) and appears dim and reddish.
Some religious leaders believe that because this is the fourth consecutive lunar eclipse since April 2014, it is part of a “tertrad” – which foretells a meteorite destroying earth and the end of time.
Experts at Nasa remain unconvinced.
The organisation monitors the heavens constantly for asteroids and none are on course to collide with Earth for several hundred years. However, the fears are widespread enough for it to have issued an official statement on the topic.
The Blood Moon theory has its roots in a passage in the Bible in Joel 2:31 which reads: “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.”
Similarly, in Acts 2:20: “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.”
And again in Revelation 6:12: “[…] and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood”.
That a “tetrad” of lunar eclipses, with six full moons in between them, will coincide with an asteroid hitting earth was popularised by US pastors Mark Biltz and John Hagee. They each noted that previous tetrads in history had coincided with noteworthy, tragic and triumphant events in Jewish history.
Mr Hagee’s book on the topic, called Four Blood Moons, was the ninth best-selling paperback in the US in March last year.
Present day biblical theorists who follow the teachings have been worried that in a period somewhere between September 22 to 28 2015, the world will end.
And although sources are vague there has been enough speculation on social media and elsewhere for NASA, which has an automated collision monitoring system, to issue the following statement:
“NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small,” said a spokesperson in comments reported by Yahoo News.
“In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”