Just about once every year the moon at its fullest comes closest to the earth and becomes a super moon. While it occurs often enough without incident, many people are still swayed by the myths that surround this celestial event and have been blamed for everything from crime and madness to natural disasters and high tides. However, is it all right to blame all of these on our closest celestial neighbour?
In honour of the moon's big show last night, here are seven truths about the supermoon that will dispel the myths that have surrounded it.
Myth #1: The supermoon can cause natural disasters.
Despite its intermittent appearance in the night sky, supermoons are natural occurrences. Supermoon happens because the moon is on an elliptical orbit. There is no mystical or ominous reason for it.
When the moon swings closer to the earth on its elliptical orbit, the moon exerts a little more gravitational pull on the planet. However, the effect of this added force on the world's tides is rather negligible. Scientists would be lucky if they could spot a rise of more than an inch in the tides. This added force also does not have any considerable effect to start an earthquake or a tsunami.
Myth #2: Full moons make you crazy.
The word lunacy has its origins from the Latin word luna or moon. It was once believed that changes in the moon cause periodic insanity. While many people claim truth on this matter, scientific studies have proven that the moon's phase is not linked with any type of lunacy.
In a review made by Ivan Kelly of the University of Saskatchewan and James Rotton of Florida International University in 1985, they found very few statistically relevant relationships between the moon and psychiatric disturbances, mental hospital admissions and any other type of mental breakdowns.
Myth #3: Full moons cause deviant behavior.
Just like with lunacy, there is no evidence to suggest that the phase of the moon has a direct effect on the rise of criminal behavior. A 2010 study using astronomical, weather and police data from San Antonio, Texas found no link between the phases of the moon and the volume of crime reported to the police.
Myth #4: The moon influences fertility.
Perhaps because a woman's menstrual cycle follows the lunar cycle, many ancient civilizations believed that the moon determines when a woman can become pregnant. Similarly, another myth purports that full moons induces birth causing a flood of mothers-to-be in hospitals. Studies show very little statistical evidence on lunar influenced births or its influence on fertility and procreation.