Exposing PseudoAstronomy

September 1, 2013

Podcast Episode 85: Blood Moons, Jewish Holidays, and the End of All Things

Blood Moons and Jewish Fests,
Their combination brings fear,
But don’t worry … much.

This is a classic-form episode. I state the claim, go through background info, and when you understand the background information, the claim falls away. It’s also just a tad under 30 minutes, returning to my roughly average length. The episode also has some feedback and a puzzler.

And I apologize to anyone who speaks עברית.


  1. You mention that the atmosphere bends the light around the earth like a lens during an eclipse. I had been under the impression that it was mostly though scattering that the light got “bent”. Then I started to think about this some more I realized that it also could possibly be bent using internal reflections (sort of like in an optical fiber). Do you have any idea what the major contributing factor is?

    Comment by Johan™ Strandberg — September 1, 2013 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

    • I could be wrong, but I think that scattering / refraction in this case is two terms for the same thing. Light gets scattered through the atmosphere, but because the atmosphere hugs the globe, it scatters and changes overall direction as though going through a lens.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 12, 2013 @ 8:17 am | Reply

  2. HI Stuart; Great podcast (as usual). I won’t comment on your Hebrew pronunciation. Let’s just say that I was constantly swinging between wincing and laughing. But one mistake I have to correct. Tisha B’Av is a FAST day, not a FEAST day (what a difference one letter can make). The religious here in Israel also see divine intervention in the man-made calender. Though I haven’t heard any messiah/end-of-the-world theories.
    Gary Shavit

    Comment by Gary Shavit (Israel) — September 2, 2013 @ 12:36 am | Reply

  3. Hi,

    That was a very interesting podcast, I too have an interest in calendar systems, such as the Asimov ‘World Season Calendar’ and it was interesting to listen to your explanation of the ‘nuts & bolts’ of the Hebrew religious calendar. You seemed much less agitated than you were in the last two podcasts so I assume you’ve recovered from the attack of ‘Sereda’.

    Keep up the good work,


    Comment by Graham — September 5, 2013 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

    • Thanks. Somewhat recovered.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 7, 2013 @ 4:05 am | Reply

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