Influence of the Moon: truths and legends

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The matter of lunar influences is merely a matter of folklore or belief: indeed it can be studied in practice. Of course, as with any scientific test, there are a few conditions: have many subjects (not a single tree or a single person), observe for a long time (one cycle is not enough), eliminate effects without a direct. link (to study the influence of the full moon on traffic accidents, we must first remove the known weekly variation), use the correct ephemeris (no, we cannot decide to have a 30-day moon phase cycle instead of 29.53 because it is easier for calculations), do not select the data to keep only those that go in the direction of the desired effect, to have replication in other data or by other researchers. That said, let’s take a look at the different areas. where has the moon been incriminated Weather: the role of tides Does the moon provide information about the atmosphere? Sometimes yes. Thus, the Moon will appear darker during total eclipses if the Earth’s atmosphere contains a lot of dust. Around new moons, the Earth’s brightness will be brighter if the side of Earth facing our satellite has more clouds. And if you see a halo around the full moon, it’s because the atmosphere has ice crystals high in the clouds called cirrostratus that sometimes, but not always, precede a weather break. Being described is indeed tied to the atmosphere, the Moon is in no way responsible, but is there a direct effect? Forget the tradition that the new moon heralds a time change (since the phase is the same for every country on Earth, this would imply a time change all over the world on the same day!). On the other hand, effects, although weak, of the Moon have been noticed for the meteorological forecast of the Cerro Paranal observatory and for tropical rains: in fact they are linked to oceanic or atmospheric tides. READ ALSO “In 20 years, maybe this Heat wave will no longer be considered extreme » Another lunar reputation: causes tsunami, earthquake or eruption. Of course, terrestrial tides (yes, not only the water that rises, but also the soil) graze the crust of our planet, while the ocean tides, by moving large amounts of water, increase or decrease the pressure on this crust. it is clear that the role of the Moon is not gigantic, and in fact you already know: We don’t announce a major global catastrophe, widespread eruption and global earthquake every full moon.At worst, the tides may provide the straw that breaks the camel’s back for a nearby fault to change or a volcano ready to erupt Gardening with the Moon It all starts with a simple analogy: the shape of the Moon grows between the new moon and the full moon, so our satellite favors everything that needs to grow and it is the right time to sow. With over time, some have changed the original tradition, and “waxing moon” sometimes refers to a moon located further from the celestial equator (the projection of our earth’s equator onto the celestial sphere), which makes that the Moon changes height with respect to the horizon. , since the Sun is higher in the sky in summer and lower in winter. it raises the plants, making them grow straight. Therefore, this waxing moon would become favorable to what grows from the earth (corn, for example) and unfavorable to what must be buried in it (carrots, for example). READ ALSO The inhabitants of the city also have green thumbs! Finally, for about a century, still others have combined the growth of the Moon (in one sense or another) with its position in the sky, a kind of moon/astrology mash-up. However, it has been known for centuries and has been proven: soil quality, water supply, pest control and climate are the most important factors to control for any good gardener. As a leaflet from the National Horticultural Society of France points out, the Moon has little to do with it, aggressive, and cows don’t stop more often in this phase. That said, there is indeed a lunar influence in some cases. Thus, because of the moonlight, the prey are more hidden and move less on full moon nights. We must not forget the tides: several marine animals (such as the palolo worm, the grunion fish, the sea urchins or the sea cucumber) have reproductive behaviors (deposition or hatching of eggs) linked to the tides. In fact, several laboratory experiments (under random lighting, with artificial tides) have even shown that certain marine animals have an internal clock linked to the Moon: their personal “app” for keeping the time of day tides! In addition, other animals, such as the dung beetle or the sea flea, use the Moon to orient themselves, a special but effective compass. One final animal remains: humans. The Moon would rule when you have to cut your hair, take medicine, bake bread, have or give birth to children or go into a psychotic crisis. She is still the one regularly accused by doctors, nurses and other police officers of working extra on certain days. However, the statistical studies follow each other and are all the same, whatever the subject (traffic accidents, suicides, murders, general or psychiatric emergencies, medical consultations, various crimes reported to the police, arrests, overdoses, epileptic seizures, childbirth, menstruation, etc.). even Dow Jones prices): move, nothing to see ALSO READ Does full moon really rhyme with bad night? There are some exceptions. So you’ll sleep worse under a full moon if the blinds don’t close well or if the curtains aren’t black out, because humans need darkness to sleep. Also be careful not to run into deer on full moon nights if you’re driving – it’s not so much that you suddenly become sadistic and want to knock one over, it’s that you’re more likely to run into one because they’re moving. more so when they have light. When cognitive biases come into play But if there are so few real effects of the Moon, why the hell does the impression persist? In fact, we are witnessing the combination of two things: a strong tradition and powerful cognitive biases. We have countless claims about lunar effects of all kinds. However, when we examine the sources, we see that they are not based on any experience but on endlessly repeated traditions: almost the same words are found centuries before our era, in the Middle Ages, in the 18th century or today. . today. Said with conviction, these phrases are repeated from generation to generation, with the beautiful impact of an authority that does not admit of questioning, these traditions are, in fact, based on two simple pillars. The first is the analogy: the Moon grows between the new moon and the full moon, then plants, hair or other must also grow; the Moon wanes between the full moon and the new moon, so cattle lose weight, you must harvest quickly. The second pillar is the Sun-Moon dualism: dry and hot Sun against cold and wet Moon. As a result, the Moon favors dampness (and thus rotting), is linked to “watery” organs (brain, eyes) and disease (breathing difficulties), and its rays are cold. By combining the two aspects we reproduce all the known traditions, while these reasonings ultimately have no real basis READ ALSO Bouzou: “France has lost its reason” Instead, our brain plays a trick on us, which we cannot help recognizing the true of the false. In addition to a raging inclination to prefer simple reasoning, our brains suffer from selective perception (we notice more easily what reinforces our preconceived ideas), selective memory (we retain and remember better what reinforces our preconceived ideas), and exposure selective (we read, watch, deal primarily with sources of information that reinforce our preconceived ideas) return home, but we will forget all the other times when it was a full moon with no extra work, or times when there was a lot of work. but nothing special in heaven. On a foundation nourished by tradition, we will preserve the association, even rare, and it will come to strengthen the initial belief. It’s “heads, I win” and “tails, you lose.” Why the Scientific Method Was Born) and so it’s a safe bet that we’ll be talking about these mysterious lunar effects for a long time! * Yaël Nazé, FNRS astronomer at the Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics of the University of Liège
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