This feedback is combined from three inquirers from the USA and one from Australia asking astronomical questions, with responses from Dr Jonathan Sarfati. Norm P., asked a question about a lunar eclipse occurring on a full moon just before Christmas 2010, but it is relevant for the forthcoming Easter, as will be shown. Gary B.asked about WMAP data and the “flatness” of the universe, which provides a chance to explain some of the problems. Lester V. asked how rotating objects could fit with the big bang, which allowed a chance to explain an intriguing universe model that would rule out the big bang, as well as dispel a common urban myth about ‘Down Under’ water down plugholes. Finally,Corinne S. asked about our Distant Starlight explanation and white holes.
Could someone explain how a lunar eclipse can or is suppose to happen on [21 December 2010]. I am a Christian and have understood that it is impossible for an eclipse to happen when there is a full moon. I have even taught this in an apologetics class. I’m sure that I’m just missing a piece of the puzzle. Your response will be greatly appreciated.
The following response was sent (in time!):
Dear Mr P.
There is no problem here. What you were presumably told is that no solar eclipse is possible with a full moon. Early Christian accounts of Christ’s crucifixion confirm the preternatural darkness at the time, and these apologists rightly rejected the excuse that a solar eclipse caused the darkness, because this is impossible during a full moon. A solar eclipse requires the moon in front of the earth, but this is the position diametrically opposed to a full moon.
But a lunar eclipse is a much less spectacular phenomenon. One lunar eclipse I witnessed (in Western Australia) didn’t even look like the moon disappeared, but appeared much redder and fainter. The redness is from the same cause as sunsets and sunrise: the atmosphere scatters out the shorter wavelengths of light.1 And a lunar eclipse is possible only during a full moon, since both of these require the moon behind the earth….
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