Astronomy: Moon and Lunar Effect Essay

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Words: 882
Pages: 4

Jessica Smith
6-8-08
AST 1002
Research Paper

The second brightest object in the sky, Earth’s only natural satellite, and

the only place in which humans have landed and explored; it is clear why the Moon has

been the subject of our fascination since the beginning of time. There have been many

discoveries since our first exploration. But one question remains in the heads of many

people… Does the moon effect our moods? To fully analyze this theory of the Moon and our mood, we must first understand

the phases that the moon goes through. The Moon is a sphere, and is always half lit by

the sun, we only see a portion of it because the Moon is in constant orbit of the earth.

This period of orbiting is a Lunar month, which lasts for 29 1/2 days. There are eight

phases that occur. These phases are known as a New Moon, Crescent Moon, First

Quarter, Gibbous, Full Moon, Gibbous, Last Quarter, and Crescent. These phases are

caused by the Moon and Sun’s positioning in the Sky.

A Full Moon, when the moons illuminated side is facing the Earth. At this time,

the Moon appears as 100% lit circular area, being illuminated by direct sunlight. The Sun

and Moon are in direct opposite sides of the Earth.

Generally there is only one full moon a month on a specific date, but rarely there

are two full moons in one month. It Is even possible to have a month

without a full moon, but this does not happen very often and it can happen only in the

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month of February.

The “Lunar Effect” is the proper name for the theory associated with the moon’s

phases and humans behavior. It is also sometimes called Transylvanian hypothesis

and Transylvanian effect. It has often been believed that the phases of a moon have

effects on psychological disorders, pregnancies, medical conditions, and violent crimes.

The majority of studies and experiments that have been conducted by

astronomers, behavior analysts, and psychologists show the theory to be untrue. A fifteen

month study in Jacksonville, Florida also revealed at least no lunar effect on crime and

hospital room admittance.

While there have been few studies that support the relationship of behavior and

the phases of the moon, these studies were based on small groups of research, and were

not consistent enough. A psychologist by the name of Arnold Leiber reported a

correlation of homicides in Miami to moon phases, but later analysis of the data did not

support Lieber's conclusions. When more appropriate tests were done, no correlation

between homicides and the phase of the moon was found.

The Lunar effect recently been also associated with positive and negative ions in

the air. The theory that there are more positive ions when the moon is full. It has been

concluded that there are many sources of positive ions other than the moon, such as air

pollution. So where did this whole theory come from? Nobody is exactly sure. There have

been many tales about the moon. It has been believed that seeing a new moon would

bring luck and prosperity, and many different regions of the world people still hold rituals Smith 3

on new and full moons. The most common tale is still the Lunar Effect, this is where we

have gotten the words “Lunatic” and “lunar” which people often use to describe people

who are behaving crazy. We also…