For the longest time ever, people have believed that the Moon holds some mystical kind of power. In fact, the entire phenomenon actually has a name associated with it. The “Lunar Effect” or the “Transylvania Effect” is the name given to the belief that the phases of the moon actually cause mental disorders and all kinds of anomalies and havoc here on Earth.
It’s widely believed that the entire concept emanated from Europe during the middle-ages. Strangely enough, “lunacy”, a term used to describe “insanity”, apparently has origins from the Latin word for the “Moon.”
Crazy as it may sound, some people actually swear by the existence of this phenomenon. It’s not uncommon to hear people ask you to enquire from police officers and nurses about the frequency of odd happening whenever the full moon occurs.
Since there’s plenty of hearsay involved in such kind of discussions, we’ll be looking to highlight some of the top myths regarding the moon phases. Once that is covered, we’ll try to see whether there’s credible scientific proof to support some of the allegations.
Before we get started though, it’s only right that we start the breakdown from the basics.
A lunar phase or moon phase describes the shape of the directly sunlit portion of the Moon as seen from Earth.
We only get to see one side of the Moon because the Moon’s rotation is tidally locked by Earth’s gravity. The side which is always facing away from the Earth has been given the moniker “dark side of the Moon,” a misnomer that reveals plenty about how people perceive the Moon.
Depending on where the Moon is on its orbit, the sunlit portion usually varies from 0% (during the New Moon) and 100% (during the Full Moon). Each of the 4 lunar phases, takes around 7.38 days. The key reason why their durations vary has a lot to do with the fact that the Moon’s orbit is elliptical in nature. As such, the natural satellite’s orbital speed is not constant.
Moon rises typically happen in the East and the Moon sets in the west every day thanks to the spin of the Earth. Notably, one of the other contributing factors behind this has to do with the fact that the Moon is constantly moving on the sky’s dome every day thanks to its own motion in orbit around the Earth.
To detect the Moon’s Eastward, orbital motion, you need to monitor its movement from one night to the next. If you’re observant enough, you’ll realize that the moon appears to move on the inside of a circle of 360 degrees. With respect to the fixed stars, the moon actually shifts by about 12-13 degrees every single day.
Apparently, Full Moons can actually go a little bit cuckoo. From ancient times, there’s been this persistent belief that Full Moon cause crazy behavior like engaging in illegal activities, sleepwalking, fits of violence, and the odd transformation into werewolves.
For thousands of years, medics had long believed that there was actually a strong connection between mania and moon phases. However, this hypothesis has been disproven in recent years after studies were conducted to evaluate the validity of such claims.
Incidentally, the menstrual cycle occurs just as frequently as the lunar cycle. In light of this, many civilizations have long believed that the moon influenced the probability of women becoming pregnant, the birth rate, and women going to labor.
In recent times though, this assertion has been disproven due to a lack of statistical evidence to support that there’s such a thing as moon-induced baby booms.
H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon and a host of other science fiction books have long proposed that the moon is actually a hollow spacecraft filled by extraterrestrials with superior intelligence and technology.
However, astronomers have publicly declared many a time that this can’t be the case because there’s zero chance the moon would be able to maintain its mass and gravitational filled without having a dense core.
Those in support of the assertion that the Moon landing was a hoax believe that we didn’t have sufficiently advanced technology at the time for such a feat to become possible.
As one of the first people to step on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin became so exasperated by the continued questioning by some naysayers over the years, that he actually punched one of the conspiracy theorists in the face in 2002. Luckily, the former astronaut was not prosecuted and the matter simply died out.
Scientific findings have disproven the assertion that moon phases actually influence us to behave in a weird manner. It’s highly likely that people tend to have “selective memory” when certain happening occur during different phases of the Moon. As such, certain events get blown out of proportion which further cements the belief that the Moon is pulling all the strings.
At AstroReality, we’re great proponents in science and we firmly believe that some things should remain in folklore. Using augmented reality technology, we’ve successfully been able to partner up with NASA to come up with detailed 3D models of various celestial bodies in our universe, including the Moon.
Our Lunar Max model is a thing of beauty. You can experience the full immersive experience of what the lunar craters look and look like right from the comfort of your home. For a really good look at the moon phases, our Moon Phase mug will do just the trick.
If you’re looking to discover the truths that exist about the moon, then, we highly encourage you to head over to our store and cop one of these awesome models. It’s totally worth it!