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Lunatic behavior caused by supermoon a myth

Lunatic behavior caused by supermoon a myth

supermoonThe biggest and brightest full moon of the year — a supermoon — will appear Saturday in the night sky.  But the Associated Press points out that odds are, you won't notice anything out of the ordinary.

NASA lunar scientist Dr. Robert Fogel told the AP that "It's doubtful that you'll actually notice it because the moon changes on a regular basis."  He said that the moon's appearance will only be about 14 percent larger.

Supermoons appear when a full moon occurs at the same time that the moon reaches its closest point to the earth in its elliptical orbit around the planet.  They are an optical illusion exciting photographers more than scientists.  "We have this phenomena called 'the moon illusion,'" Fogel explained, "and the moon illusion is that the moon always appears to people to be larger when they view it on the horizon than when they view it up in the sky.  It will appear a bit brighter if you remember what the moon might have looked like the day before [...], but in reality, it's not really larger."

The notion that lunar phases create lunatic behavior and catastrophes on earth is also an illusion, debunked by experts.  Decades of research have proven that moons — even supermoons — don't have super powers.  "There's really no data to suggest that people are going to act any differently than at any time of the month," said Dr. Eric Chudler, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington.  "There's no relationship between traffic accidents, arrests or criminal behavior, calls to mental health crisis centers, or visits to emergency rooms."

Yet, the myth persists.  "If we believe that the moon affects our behavior, we will change our behavior to reinforce our own beliefs," Chudler explained.


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About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
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