Full Moon Fantasies

First, an announcement:  Tye Preston Memorial Library in Canyon Lake has received the very first Night Sky Friendly Business certificate from Comal County Friends of the Night Sky and partner Canyon Lake Rotary Club. Their outdoor lighting is a model for all businesses.  Congratulations!

What do you think of when you hear or read about the full Moon?  Do you think of howling winds and mysterious figures in the distance? Maybe you think of moonlit parties.  The full Moon conjures a lot of different thoughts about us and how we might be affected by the full Moon.  The full Moon is revered, most cultures have names for full Moons during different seasons, even for each month.  Let’s look at some Full Moon Fantasies and Factoids.

Fantasy – Weird things happen more often during the full Moon. From ancient Greek (400 BCE) to current times people, including mental health professionals think more weirdness occurs during full Moons.

Factoid – Clinical studies consistently show no psychological, circadian rhythm, or negative physical differences in people during full Moon vs. other phases.  One positive physical change, a 2013 study found that blood pressure in male university students was 5 mm Hg lower during full and new Moons.  Numerous sociologic studies have found no difference in assaults, suicides, or other violent behaviors in full Moon periods vs. other phases.  Of course, we can’t know how many ritualistic/occult “sacrifices” occur during full Moons – they are secret affairs and scheduled as such.  OK, that’s creepy and weird.

Fantasy – Blood Moon.  While “blood Moon” is not specifically mentioned, the Book of Joel in the Hebrew Bible prophesizes the second coming of Jesus as heralded by the Sun turning dark and the Moon turning red. This was cooped by some Christian religious pundits, prophesizing the end of times in 2014-2015 as they claimed we were to experience a total lunar eclipse tetrad with “blood” Moons occurring during God’s annual Feast Days.

Factoid – The end of times did not happen.  According to biblestudy.org not all of the total eclipses occurred during a Feast Day period, so those prophets were exploiting their followers, for profit!

Fantasy – Supermoon.  This term has become a favorite of Weathermen/Weatherwomen.  First coined by astrologer Richard Nolle, he defined it as a Full or New Moon that is at or near 90% of its closest approach to Earth (perigee).

Factoid – The term supermoon is at best an exaggeration.  A Full or New Moon that is at perigee (closest distance to Earth) is at most 14% larger in appearance than a Full or New Moon at apogee (its farthest distance), also called a Micromoon.  Not super, just a little bigger.

Fantasy – The Full Moon is soooo bright!

Factoid – The full Moon is nearly as dark as coal!  Measurements of lunar surface reflectivity show a paltry 11%, or an albedo of 11.  So, why does it appear so bright?  This is due to the great dynamic range of brightness between the Moon and surrounding dark sky.  A full Moon looks eerily dark against a full Earth.

What’s in the Sky?

ASTRONOMY NIGHT! At Tye Preston Memorial Library in Canyon Lake – November 6th, starting at 7:30pm.  Door Prize!