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Lunar Lunacy: Moon myths and truths busted!
1. The Dark Side of the Moon.
Pink Floyd has made this a world-wide known phrase, but scientists prefer to call it "the far side". Lunar daytime and lunar nighttime are two phrases that best describe the lit, and non-lit sides of the moon at any given time of day. For instance, the side we see at night would be the current lit side and is therefore referred to as lunar daytime. The far side, dark side whatever you wish to call it, is referred to as lunar nighttime. So, does the moon have a permanent "dark side"? Myth!
2. Round and round and round we go!
The second common myth is that the moon is completely round. As we observe it from Earth, yes it does appear to be round. The actual shape of the moon is that of an oblate spheroid, meaning it has the shape of a ball that is slightly flattened. Thinking about the shape as a little more bird egg shaped or "gumdrop" shaped would give a better representation of the actual shape rather than believing that is ball shaped. Also, it's important to note that the side that faces Earth is a bit larger than the side that faces away from Earth. The moon isn't completely round...Myth!
3. Bright and White?
This next myth is really two different myths. Let's tackle the brightness first. The moon doesn't actually illuminate any light of it's own. The light we see is the sun's light reflecting through the moon. It appears very bright relative to the dark sky, and ordinarily looks white to the eye. Remember the old-style incandescent light bulbs? Now imagine a 100-watt light bulb located about 150 feet away, and shining in an otherwise completely dark night. That is approximately how bright the full moon is. Really. Another myth!
So, let's talk color! Is the moon really white? Well, no. Like I mentioned before, the moon doesn't emit any light of it's own. It's "borrowed" light. So, it would only make sense for it to be the same thing with the color. It's "borrowed" color. Whatever color comes from the Sun, mixes with the grey color of the moon. The sun looks white when high in the sky, as does the moon, because of the way that our eye to brain connection mixes all the colors together. The moon’s color varies somewhat according to its phase and position in the sky, although this color variation generally is too subtle for human eyes. However, the moon is actually gray rather than pure white, on average much like the well-worn asphalt on most streets. Yep, you guessed it...another myth!
This next myth is that there isn't any gravity on the moon. The truth to this is, of course there is gravity on the moon! When you see pictures of an astronaut "walking" or "floating" on the moon, a lot of people think that there isn't any gravity. The reality is that the amount of gravity on the moon is only about one sixth of that on Earth, but it's still there! Even photons of light and other forms of energy exhibit gravity. Gravity holds galaxy clusters, galaxies, stars, planets and moons together and/or in orbit about each other. If every physical thing did not exhibit gravity, the universe as we know it could not exist. No gravity on the moon? Myth!
5. The rising tides inside all of us!
We all know that the moon's gravitational pull is responsible for high tides of the oceans. But, what about the tides inside us? After-all, human beings are largely made up of water. Makes sense, right? Unfortunately it seems like this too is a myth.
If tidal effects were even measurable in the human body, which they aren’t, they would be on the order of a ten-millionth of a meter, or about one-thousandth the thickness of a piece of paper. Those are still tides, you say? Perhaps. But they are far, far smaller tides than are raised within your body when a truck passes you on the highway … or even when another person walks past you on the street.
So, in other words even if it were possible for the moon to "raise your inner tides" it would be severely less effective than that of the person sitting next to you. Since there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of hard evidence about whether or not the moon has any effect on humans and animals here on Earth, I am choosing to stamp this one "To be Determined".
Stop and vote please!
Do you believe the moon has any effect on us here on Earth?
6. Lunar Lunacy
Some people (mostly police and hospital workers) still believe that people go a little more mad than usual during a full moon. There have been many research attempts at this theory, but nothing to be deemed "true or false". If you ask me, I think there might be something to this theory.
7. You saw me standing alone
Blue moons are another common lunar myth. This myth was actually busted by yours truly just this past weekend. Watching the news, I heard that there was to be a Blue Moon on Friday July 31st 2015. I got very excited and made sure to stay up and wait for this rare beauty! I was disappointed when I went outside only to see a "normal" full moon. I have since done my research to figure out what the news meant by a "Blue Moon". Blue moons are simply the fourth full moon to occur in a season, since most seasons only have three full moons.
Disappointed, but definitely a myth.
8. All you need is Love!
In Chinese folklore, Yue-Laou is an old man in the moon who unites predestined couples together. British women as well, who hoped to receive a dream about their true love would recite the following verse under a New moon: “New moon, new moon, I hail thee! By all the virtue in thy body, grant this night that I may see he who my true love is to be.” The Moon has also traditionally been appealed to in order to bring fertility. http://www.moonphases.info/ten-common-moon-myths.html
It seems that this is both a myth and truth, it all depends on which culture you're asking.