A Full Moon shows up – to Earthly viewers – when the Moon’s orbit takes it around to the point where Sun, Earth and Moon line up.
And sunlight fully splashes the Earth-facing face of the Moon.
But does that cause any special weirdness here on Earth?
The Full Moon is more than just a passing phase. During the Full Moon - and also at the completely dark New Moon phase – gravity of the nearby Moon lines up in phase with gravity of the faraway (but hugely massive) Sun … to cause higher tides in Earth’s oceans.
Now, could all that crazy gravity slosh around liquids inside our living bodies?
Well, people have long speculated. But, turns out, the idea that exposure to the Full Moon causes insanity is, well, just sheer lunacy.
Study after study has found no correlation between observed psychotic episodes, or crime statistics, or animal bites.
You’re not any more likely to hideously mutate into your werewolf-form on the night of the Full Moon than you are on any other night.
Some species of real wolves do seem to like to howl at the Full Moon…
But researchers are not quite sure, yet, just why.
Buddhism teaches that all Full Moon days are holy.
Judaism marks at least 3 significant yearly holidays by the Full Moon.
And many cultures around the Earth give a pet name to each passing Full Moon:
Buck Moon, Oak Moon, Milk Moon, Pink Moon, Hay Moon, Grain Moon, Old Moon, Cold Moon, Egg Moon…
And once in a Blue Moon, we get two Full Moons in a month, which is really just a trick of the calendar we picked.
There’s actually only one infinitely short instant when the moon is truly full.
At that one moment the Far Side of the Moon actually is the Dark Side of the Moon.
And finally, here’s a tip: the Full Moon is the very worst time to observe the Moon.
The harsh lighting is too bright and too flat to show you the true beauty of Earth’s magnificent natural satellite.
So that’s the Full Moon…
This is your 2 Minute Universe…
And I’m Dave Brody
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What happens when the Sun Earth and Moon line up (in that order)? Do people (or animals) get crazy? Commit more crimes? The Moon always shows us the same face, but there’s only one instant when the Moon is truly “Full.” @DavidSkyBrody explains.
Credit: SPACE.com / Dave Brody / Edited by Steve Spaleta