The moon is a lot more than a beautiful satellite to the Earth that gives us beautiful moonlit nights. It is also thought to affect us and phenomena on earth in different ways.
More About The Moon
The moon is a globe that is a satellite to the Earth. Similar to the earth, it has a day side that is illuminated by the sun and a night side that is dark. Depending on how we see the moon as it is making its way around our planet we see it with portions of the dayside lit up and portions of it in the dark. This makes the moon look like a fully lit globe on full moon nights and partially visible on others whereas, on the new moon night, we do not see it. This phenomenon of the phases of the moon is totally dependent on the position of the sun with respect to the moon as seen from the earth.
The moon orbital motion is towards the east which makes it change its apparent position in the sky by about 12 degrees every day. So, moonrise gets later by approximately 50 minutes every day.
The phases of the moon all have particular names. A half-moon looks exactly like half of a circle and is sometimes called a quarter moon. The moon that appears between a half-moon and a new moon is called a crescent moon whereas the moon that is between a full moon and a half-moon or vice versa is called a gibbous moon. When the lit portion of the moon is not at all visible from the earth we call it the new moon.
The Effects Of The Moon
One of the most visible and well-known effects of the moon seen on earth is the tides. The sun has its own effect but thanks to the distance from the earth the moon’s pull on water bodies causing the tides are far stronger. When the sun and moon are in line with each other relative to the earth the spring tide effect results. This happens every new moon and full moon. These tides are about one and a half times stronger than the typical tide. When the moon and sun are at right angles to each other the effect is a neap tide which is lesser than the normal tide effect.
One would have to be away from artificial lighting to truly appreciate just how dark our nights would be without the moon. The moon gives us moonlight by which we are able to have a level of visibility at night. One might speculate that the human vision would have evolved to include better night vision if we had not had the moon to light our way.
The word lunacy springs from the belief that erratic insanity and madness occurs depending on the phase of the moon. There has been a belief that people with psychological issues show more pronounced symptoms during the full moon. These theories have been debated and researched with no definitive result. But, despite little scientific evidence to prove the theory definitely, the belief still persists. Studies have shown that there are more assaults and poisonings during the full moon. There are more animal attacks as well. One study has found that though there are no effects on epileptic seizures. However, there were more cases of non-epileptic seizures during the full moon.
Geologists have a theory that the moon has an effect on volcanic eruptions. It is thought that the full and new moon phases had a greater earth pull and caused more volcanic eruptions.
A woman’s menstrual cycle is on an average the same length as the lunar cycle. Many cultures relate the lunar cycle to the fertility cycle. A Scandinavian study found that there were more women menstruating around the full moon than at any other lunar phase.
Gardeners have traditionally planned their planting activities by the phases of the moon. It is believed that the moon’s effect of exerting a pull on moisture affects the moisture in the soil. This moisture is pulled towards the surface of the soil giving seeds and seedlings a better chance at survival. The new moon and the full moon phases are thought to be the times when this effect is very strong.
Some people believe that there is a higher chance of more bleeding during the full moon. However, surgeons have not found any scientific evidence for the same.