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The Supermoon of Cinco de Mayo

By Rich_Maloof May 1, 2012 7:39PM
Photo: Dag Sundberg/Photographer's Choice/Getty ImagesIf the skies are clear this weekend, you’ll be able to see an uncommonly enormous and spectacular Moon. On Saturday at 11:34 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the Moon will reach perigee — the point at which the Moon’s elliptical orbit puts it as close as it ever gets to Earth. A minute later the Earth, Moon and sun will also line up. The result: a “Supermoon” that appears 14% bigger and 30% bigger than any other full Moon. That’s bigger than it looked in 1987’s Moonstruck, when Cher gave Nicolas Cage a good smack.

In celebration of the May 5th Supermoon, here are some super Moon facts.
  • The Moon used to rotate relative to Earth, but over billions of years our gravity slowed it down. Now it rotates slowly on its axis in sync with our own rotation but in the opposite direction, which makes the Moon appear to be in a fixed position. Only about 60% of the Moon’s surface — the side with the Man on the Moon and his badly cratered complexion — ever faces us. But there isn’t really a “dark side of the moon” since the sun does rise on the far side we don’t see.
  • Buzz Aldrin, the second of only 12 men ever to walk on the Moon, has struggled with depression, a condition to which he is genetically predisposed; both his mother and his grandfather took their own lives. His mother’s maiden name: Marion Moon.
  • The moon experiences earthquakes which astronomers can detect from Earth.
  • The root of the word lunatic comes from luna, the Latin for moon. Centuries ago it was believed that periodic insanity was caused by changing phases of the moon. The same root is borrowed for the slang loony (though Bugs, Daffy and friends spell their cartoon series Looney Tunes, with an extra “e”).
  • Does the Moon really make us loony? Though many hospital workers and first responders have noted the “Transylvania effect” of a full Moon, there’s little scientific data supporting the idea that moon phases are related to stats for violent behavior. But a study back in 2000 did find that during full-Moon phases, the condition of a group of patients with schizophrenia notably deteriorated.
  • Michael Jackson debuted his moonwalk dance step on March 25, 1983.
  • Maternity ward nurses have long claimed that new deliveries cluster around full-Moon phases, and in 1997 an Italian study lent credence to the claim. If the Moon can pull on the oceans, it seems we should expect some effect on our own bodies since they’re made up of about 70% water.
  • Another study found that animals tend to bite people more during a full Moon. Werewolves get especially testy.

Photo: Dag Sundberg/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images


25Comments
May 6, 2012 5:16AM
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And to think my Niece and Nephew-in-law birthed their first born baby boy early this morning:  Neill Arthur Bullis and this with the pull of tonights' Super Moon lining up to Earth and Sun.  Wow!  What a time to be born AND with the middle name of my recently passed on Pop I wonder if he will carry the tradition of "Green Mountain Boy" Vermont farmer? Welcome  to Neill (which I just learned a week ago means "champion" in the Celtic tradition). Blessings and Grace to Christie and Travis with their bundle of JOY!
May 6, 2012 4:40AM
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Wow...I'm  in California, it's9:40pm the moon looks so radiant and beautiful, just like in Bruce Allmighty. God is really out there!!!

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i heard women are more horny during full moons , does this mean the ladies are going to be reallllly horny ?

 

May 6, 2012 3:53AM
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just out and caught it between cloud cover.  didn't seem so great to me.  not that big/bigger than normal.

 

May 6, 2012 3:45AM
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In Denver area Smile . Thunderstorms and hail Disappointed Wish i could have seen it. I remember one, i think, when i was a kid.1974 i think and the religious response in my community was hysteria. Lots of panic the moon was going to crash into the earth. The end was here.
May 6, 2012 1:50AM
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clear skys, live on the east coast, saturday night, I'm gonna take a picture. Smile
May 5, 2012 10:17PM
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Is the one moon where we will see the face of Jackie Gleason???

 

May 5, 2012 9:14PM
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