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50 Things You Never Knew About The Full 

Moon

So it's not just a matter of superstition. According to a police study, the

lunar event coincides with an increase in hooliganism. Jonathan Brown and

Rebecca Bowle shed some light on the celestial phenomenon.


1. The full moon is a lunar phase occurring when the moon is on the opposite

side of the earth from the sun and all three bodies are aligned in a

straight line. Viewed from earth, the near side of the moon is fully

illuminated by the sun giving it the familiar circular appearance.


2. It is only during a full moon that the dark side of the moon - the

hemisphere on the opposite side to the sun - is completely dark.


3. Lunar eclipses - caused by the passage of the earth's shadow across the

illuminated hemisphere - only occur during a full moon. However, because of

the angle of tilt of both bodies the moon normally passes either north or

south of the earth's shadow.


4. The chances of being bitten by a dog are twice as high during a full moon

according to a study at Bradford Royal Infirmary, which reviewed 1,621

cases of dog bite between 1997 and 1999. However, a study at the University

of Sydney in Australia concluded there was no identifiable relationship

between the state of the moon and dog bites.


5. Gervaise of Tilbury, a 13th-century canon lawyer, was the first to link

the full moon with the transformation into a werewolf. Writing in his Otia

Imperialia he reports cases in the Auvergne, below. The philosopher

Gottfried Leibniz described the popular work as a "bagful of foolish old

woman's tales".


6. The full moon occurs every 29.5 days - the duration of one complete lunar

cycle.


7. The female menstrual cycle has long been linked to the full phase of the

moon. One theory is that prehistoric men were more likely to go hunting

during their womenfolk's period because of taboos associated with blood. The

most profitable time to hunt was during the full moon and the best way to

convince the men to return with food was with the prospect of sex.


8. Neo-pagans, including followers of Wicca, hold a monthly ritual based

around the full moon called an Esbat. The term has been linked to the

writings of the controversial anthropologist Margaret Murray.


9. The second full moon occurring within a calendar month is called a Blue

Moon. The latest was seen on 31st May 2007. Far from being a rare event this

phenomenon occurs once every three years on average.


10. "Blue Moon", which was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in

1934, became a standard ballad and was recorded by singers such as Frank

Sinatra and Bob Dylan. The most famous version was recorded by the doo-wapp

band the Marcels, in 1961, selling more than one million copies.


11. The world's tidal ranges are at their maximum during the full moon when

the sun, earth and moon are in line. Sailors know the effect as the spring

tide - a reference to the leap in the water level rather than the season of

the year.


12. The only month that can occur without a full moon is February.


13. Farmers refer to the harvest moon, the full moon closest to the autumnal

equinox, which occurs in September. It is also called the elk calling moon

or the wine moon.


14. A full Moon is considered unlucky if it occurs on a Sunday but lucky on

Monday or moon day


15. According to superstition a male child is more likely to be conceived at

full moon.


16. In October 1939 in Springfield, Missouri, the full moon appeared to fall

from the sky. The event was reported in the local newspaper but was later

revealed to be a plunging weather balloon.


17. The Gregorian calendar dates Easter as the first Sunday after the

ecclesiastical full moon - the first to occur after the vernal equinox. It

is also known as the egg moon.


18. The Chinese Lantern Festival, dating back to the Han dynasty, is staged

on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month after the new year. Chinese

communities celebrate across the world by lighting lanterns and feasting on

glutinous rice.


19. The Lunar Society, which included Erasmus Darwin, James Watt and Josiah

Wedgewood, took its name from the practice of holding monthly meetings on

the Monday nearest to the full moon. Members referred to themselves as the

Lunatics.


20. A three-month psychological study of 1,200 inmates at Armley jail in

Leeds in 1998 showed a rise in violent incidents in the days either side of

a full moon.


21. Scientists have long battled to explain the "moon illusion" - whereby

the full moon appears to be larger the closer it is to the horizon. The

phenomenon is understood to be caused by human perception rather than the

magnifying effect of the earth's atmosphere.


22. Timber harvests in South America and South-east Asia are avoided during

the full moon because it causes the sap to rise in trees, which in turn

attracts deathwatch beetles which can devastate crops.


23. Thousands of revellers gather each month on the beach at Koh Phangan in

Thailand, to celebrate the full moon and dance the night away.


24. The Native American Algonquin tribes in New England give each full moon

of the year a name such as the beaver moon, the sturgeon moon and the

strawberry moon.


25. The next full moon will occur on 30 June 2007.


26. The full moon may appear round, but is actually shaped like an egg with

the pointed end facing earth.


27. The dark spots on the full moon that create the nursery-rhyme man in the

moon image are actually basins filled up to five miles deep with basalt, a

dense mineral. Other facial features are actually "seas" of frozen lava and

sharp, rugged mountains.


28. In China, the dark shadows forming the man in the full moon are seen as

a toad. The toad is considered one of the five poisons of yin. It is

believed that eclipses occur when the toad in the full moon tries to swallow

the moon itself.


29. The Moonlight Sonata, by Ludwig von Beethoven, is probably the most

widely recognised classical work associated with the full moon. The name

comes not from the composer but from a critic who compared the piece to the

effect of moonlight on Lake Lucerne.


30. The Inuit of Greenland believe the full moon is a hungry god, Anningan,

who is intent on eating his sister, the Sun Goddess, Malina. Their

cat-and-mouse sibling chase follows the cycle of the day, with Malina rising

as Anningan sets and the cycle of the moon, with the chase waning when the

moon is full.


31. The RAF used the moon to launch its first successful attack on a German

city when planes attacked Lubeck in 1942.


32. Wesak, the most important of the Buddhist festivals, is celebrated on

the full moon in May. It celebrates the Buddha's birthday and, for some

Buddhists, marks his birth and death.


33. The full moon is the brightest object in the night sky. It has an

apparent magnitude of -12.6 compared with the Sun's of -26.8.


34. The Slovakian psychiatrist Eugen Jonas created a method of birth control

and fertility based on the full moon.


35. An analysis of the birthdays of 4,256 babies born in a clinic in France

found no relationship between the full moon and fertility.


36. A study by Tübingen University, Germany, claimed that police reports for

50 new and full moon cycles showed that the moon is responsible for binge

drinking.


37. A telescopic drawing of the full moon by the English mathematician

Thomas Harriot, from early August 1609, is the first on record and preceded

the Italian physicist Galileo's study by several months.


38. Renaissance artists traditionally depicted the moon as a crescent rather

than in its full phase.


39. The full moon is said to be at perigee when it is full at the same

moment its orbit brings it closest to the earth. The moon appears

imperceptibly brighter at this time.


40. The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, was perpetrated by Richard Adams Locke for

the New York Sun. His story claimed that the eminent scientist Sir John

Hershel had spotted furry winged men resembling bats on the surface of a

full moon.


41. The full moon is at its highest altitude from the Earth during the

winter season.


42. Some insomnia sufferers claim to sleep worse during a full moon;

although others say they sleep more soundly.


43. It is a common misperception that the first Apollo landing occurred

during a full moon. This did not occur until more than a week later.


44. The moon is 10 times brighter when it is full than when it is in a

quarter phase.


45. Pagans believe the most mystical time at Stonehenge is when the full

moon wanes leaving the earth to be reunited with her lover, the sun at dawn.


46. The honeymoon is named after the full moon in June. As it fell between

the planting and harvesting of crops this was traditionally the best month

to get married.


47. The oldest lunar calendar, showing the full moon was discovered in caves

at Lascaux in France. It dates back 15,000 years and marks the phases of the

moon, with a series of dots depicting the days in the cycle.


48. In 2001, the first test match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe had to be

postponed by one day due to new Sri Lankan government rule, which bans

playing sport on a full moon.


49. The Californian grunion only spawns on the three or four nights after

the highest tide associated with each full moon. The fish come ashore to lay

their eggs.


50. In a study of 1,000 tonsillectomy operations, 82 percent of

postoperative bleeding crises occurred nearer the full moon than the new

moon, according to the Journal of the Florida Medical Association.

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