For total lunar eclipse, professor invites sky watchers to garage

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By Mandi Flores

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The first of two total lunar eclipses in 2014 is early Tuesday, and astronomy Professor Alfred Alaniz will be watching 1 a.m.-4 a.m. from the roof of the parking garage. District police will patrol and close half the garage.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon align, causing the Earth’s shadow to fall on the moon and darkening it to dark red or brown, sometimes called a “blood moon.”

“I will be on the roof of the original parking garage with telescopes,” Alaniz said Wednesday for the three hours. “During this, we will be viewing Jupiter and its four moons, Mars since yesterday was the best day to be seen, and Saturn in the early morning,” Alaniz said. “We hope it will be clear, so we can see anything that we are able to see.”

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will stream the event live, so in an area that is cloudy, the event can still be viewed.

These eclipses — the second is Oct. 8 — are part of a tetrad, a sequence of four eclipses over a year and a half. Some Christians believe the “Blood moon prophecy” signals the end of time, “The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come,” Joel 2:31.

The first tetrad since the Middle Ages happened in 1493, and saw the expulsion of Jews from Spain by the Catholic inquisition.

Local pastor John Hagee has written a book on the phenomenon he believes marks a ‘hugely significant event’ for the world.

There have been 62 tetrads since the first century A.D., eight coinciding with both the Jewish feasts, making this not as unique as some believe. The “opposition of planets” happens every 788 days.

For more, call 210-486-0060.

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