The Pull of The Moon

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Ancient philosophers believed that the Moon caused maddness and is the origin of the word "lunacy" Credit: Getty Images. The Moon affects Earth in several ways. The first and most obvious is through the provision of moonlight, with a full Moon coming around every The height of those tides also follows roughly two-week cycles — the This is particularly true of bipolar patients, whose mood episodes are often precipitated by disrupted sleep or circadian rhythms — hour oscillations in our biology and behaviour, which can become disrupted as a result of shift work or taking a long-haul flight.

There are some theories that bright moonlight at the peak of the lunar cycle might disrupt people's sleep and lead to mood changes Credit: Alamy.

Effects of the Moon's Gravity

Certainly, some studies have linked solar activity to increases in heart attacks and strokes , epileptic fits, schizophrenia and suicides. However, a study published earlier this year challenged that assumption.

It found that when people were exposed to magnetic field changes — equivalent to those we experience as we move around our local environment — they experienced strong decreases in brain alpha wave activity. Alpha waves are produced when we are awake but not performing any specific task. The magnetic theory is appealing to Wehr because over the past decade, various studies have hinted that, in certain organisms such as fruit flies, a protein called cryptochrome may also function as a magnetic sensor.

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Far from being a remote satellite, the Moon has real everyday affects on our planet and the creatures that live here Credit: Alamy. Namespaces Article Talk.

Out on the pull: why the moon always shows its face

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    High and Low Nearly Twice a Day

    The origin of the Moon is still much disputed. On the one hand, many people believe, and many textbooks state, that an impacting Mars-sized body led to a particle ring in orbit around Earth, which somehow coalesced into the Moon. On the other hand, applying the tidal perturbations by calculating backward in time, starting with the present Moon and its present orbit, we can find the conditions at the time the Moon was acquired some 4.

    This is the traditional way to calculate the orbital evolution of the Moon; it was pioneered by Sir George Darwin, nephew of Sir Charles, in Please note that tidal effects, usually thought of as applying only to the ocean, also occur within the interior of the Earth.

    The late Prof. Gordon MacDonald of UCLA found that these initial spin periods of the Earth were so short, a fraction of one hour, that the internal dissipation, by tidal friction, of its kinetic energy of rotation would create serious problems.

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    It would be more than sufficient to vaporize the Earth! Geophysicist MacDonald was a well known authority on many subjects. At that point, many proponents of the gravitational capture hypothesis, which had included two Nobelists, lost interest.

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