Third of the four horsemen: ‘Apocalyptic’ blood moon to appear?

The moon glows red in April, as seen from the Milwaukee area, during the first of four total lunar eclipses taking place between 2014 to 2015. Saturday morning will be the third.

Cue the doomsday music: The third of four “blood moon” partial or total lunar eclipses takes place Saturday over the Lowcountry starting just after 6 a.m.

It will be a partial eclipse, lasting only until the moon sets just after 7 a.m. with the moon about half eclipsed, according to timeanddate.com. The eclipse will turn the moon coppery or red, a phenomenon known as a “blood moon,” and in some cultural superstitions believed to augur misfortune.

The sequence of four eclipses is occurring within the span of a single year in the Jewish religious calendar and, along with some other odd stuff occurring in the heavens, has some soothsayers and televangelists suggesting it’s an End of Time event.

Which doesn’t bode well for us when the fourth lunar eclipse, a total one, draws the dark curtain closed just after 8 p.m. on Sept. 27. Cue the eerie quote:

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord.

— Book of Joel 2:31.

Of course, four eclipses occurred in the same, relatively uneventful time span about a decade ago and will happen seven more times this century. In fact, with the heart of Saturday’s eclipse over the Pacific Ocean, only people on the West Coast will get a glimpse of totality. And not much of one. Some experts suggest it might be the shortest total eclipse of the 21st century, said College of Charleston astronomer Terry Richardson.

But “great and terrible” might well be an issue with this celestial augur, as it has been for other recent events in the sky: “It looks like it’s going to be increasing cloud cover, partly to mostly cloudy,” said meteorologist Emily Timte, with the National Weather Service, Charleston, on Thursday.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.