8 Lesser-Known Facts About The Moon That Debunk Popular Myths
Ever since they first understood it, humans have found themselves both fearful and fascinated by the moon. In all its forms – new, crescent or full, the earth’s satellite has been blamed for a lot of crazy stuff right from werewolves to bad luck.
Let’s take a look at the common myths it has inspired over the years and attempt to separate fact from fiction.
1. There is no “Man in the Moon.”
Legends from various civilizations across the globe reflect common interpretations of the markings on the lunar surface.
I’ve always believed it was a bunny. As did the Native Americans.
2. The Blood Moon is not omen.
This purely astrological event occurs when the earth casts a rust-colored shadow on the moon’s surface, and has nothing to do with werewolves or the apocalypse.
3. There is no connection between the Moon and madness.
In the middle ages, scientists and philosophers believed that a full moon caused seizures and fevers and rheumatism. Even Hippocrates, the “Father of modern medicine,” thought insanity was caused when Luna, the moon goddess, rode her chariot across the sky.
In 18th-century England, murderers on trial for murder could ask for a lighter sentence if the crime occurred under a full moon; and psychiatric patients were shackled and flogged as a preventive measure during certain lunar phases.
Because of this wrongful association between the moon and unusual behavior, the afflicted were called lunatics, or, literally, “moon sick.”
4. The Moon is not made of cheese, and is far from being pure and white.
There’s about 200 tons of trash on the Moon left behind by various space missions since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on it on July 20th, 1969.
Among the abandoned satellites, spent rockets, cameras, backpacks, and golf balls, there’s also the ashes of Eugene Shoemaker, along with many bags of human poop and peepee.
5. The Moon has no dark side.
We have Pink Floyd’s blockbuster 1973 album to thank for this myth.
According to NASA, however, what we call the “dark side” is actually a “far side” because the moon rotates, so there is always 41 percent of the moon’s surface that’s hidden.
6. The Supermoon does not cause disasters.
The moon does exert a little more of a gravitational pull on our planet when it swings closer on its elliptical path.
However, this extra force doesn’t have an appreciable effect on disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and is nothing the Earth can’t handle.
7. There’s no harm in having surgeries during a Full Moon.
It was believed by some that the body’s blood flow was affected by the ebb and flow of the tides that were in turn affected by the moon.
Now while full moon does tug at ocean tides, it has no effect on the body’s circulation, and definitely not on the outcome of some 18,000 heart-related surgeries performed at the Cleveland Clinic between 1993 and 2006.
So yeah, there’s no harm in having surgeries during a full moon; unless of course, you’re being operated on by a mad doctor.
8. The Moon doesn’t control fertility.
Your reproductive system does.
The the most likely reason for this belief is that menstrual and lunar cycles are similar in length.
Female moon deities figure prominently in mythology mainly because early civilizations were convinced that the moon determined when women could become pregnant.
Recent studies however, have provided little statistical evidence that establishes any lunar effect on procreation.
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