The Full Moon....

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Aemilius
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The Full Moon....

Postby Aemilius » 18 Jan 2012, 07:42

Practitioners within various disciplines over the millenia have learned to harness the energies of the Full Moon to advantage, but the effects of the Full Moon are felt by all, including animals, plants, aquatic and even microscopic life forms. I became interested in trying to come up with an actual physical explanation or cause for this (a typical Virgo, if you get my meaning).

For decades hospital emergency rooms and police departments have noticed a surge of activity around the time of the Full Moon, and mental institutions have also reported a rise in the number of patients that inexplicably become agitated around the same time. Even the word “lunacy” is derived from the Latin word for moon “Luna”, and ancient folklore, most notably about the werewolf, is also tied to the phases of the Moon, particularly the Full Moon. It's interesting that people made this connection so far back, and that the connection has continued to be made right up to to the present day.

The only heavenly body in close proximity to the Earth which can verifiably be shown to be capable of affecting or influencing the human body physiologically in any way is the Moon. It’s well known that the Moon acts on the Earth gravitationally in creating the tides, and also that the human body, being composed largely of water is also affected by its gravitational pull. However, the quantity of water present in the human body is negligible to the point that no physiological effects can be observed or easily measured.

Since the gravitational pull of the Moon exerted on the Earth is pretty much the same whether it’s full or not (it's mass does not change) as it passes overhead and it has no significant magnetic field, its gravitational pull and magnetic field can reasonably be excluded from consideration as being a viable theory of the mechanism of operation involved in the cyclic nature of the observed phenomena.

In trying to explain both the ancient folkloric beliefs and modern observations that something is happening, that leaves the light reflected by the Moon as the only predictable cyclic influence available to explain it.

Could there possibly be some peculiar quality about the altered visible spectrum of light reflected from the lunar surface that renders it capable of acting directly on the brain via the optic nerve, causing physiological/psychological changes in the brain? Is it possible that somehow this causes already unstable people who don't know how to control it or are unaware of it to become even more unstable, making them more likely to exhibit aberrant behaviour? It’s just a theory....

Here’s the visible electromagnetic spectrum....

Image

Here’s the altered visible electromagnetic spectrum after being reflected from the lunar surface during a Full Moon....

Image

To reiterate, the main thrust of my little theory (even lacking any illustration) is that there’s something about the altered nature of the reflected light from the lunar surface that’s qualitatively unique in its ability to influence the mental state of those who are especially susceptible to it which can lead to aberrant behavior or general agitation.

The inclusion of those images (solar visible spectrum and Full Moon reflected visible spectrum) may actually be misleading. Since the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is only a tiny fraction of the whole, it’s as likely as not that the observed effects may have to do with wavelengths not visible to the human eye. Of course, this is all just speculation borne of curiosity.... looking forward to any opinions.

On a lighter note, I've been conducting an experiment,
spending every available moment staring at the
Full Moon looking for any obvious visible effects,
but so far....

....there's no change in my appearance!


Image
"SHAPE SHIFTER" by Emile Cole
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Muddy Fox

Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Muddy Fox » 18 Jan 2012, 08:17

An interesting post Aemilius, I must say just lately i have noticed a link between my emotions,menstrual cycle and the full moon, I seem to get a bit anxious and tearful around this time. I hadn't really observed the changes in myself at this time until someone pointed out the changes and moods I have always seem to coincide with the full moon.
My mother worked week-end nights as a receptionsit in a large city hospital casualty department for a number of years. She always said that the number of people suffering from mental health problems coming into casualty increased at the time of the full moon and the medical staff were used to it.
I think the gravitational pull on the water content of the body is more likely than the light effects. I've just googled water content in the human body and found these figures. The average human body is 60% water, the brain is 70% water, the lungs 90% water and the blood 83% water.

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Lily » 18 Jan 2012, 08:37

Before you take off with this discussion, can you take into account that for medical emergencies, crime etc, the link hasn't been proven? and that the effects on our body's water content would be minuscule (haven't calculated myself but the links below have it all)

http://www.livescience.com/7899-moon-my ... fects.html
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -full-moon

I get particularly amused by discussions of the moon's influence on menstruation. I always say I must be completely out of touch with nature, because my cycle is about 36 days. Anyway, my opinion on this is that in the pagan community it is particularly popular because it comes up in "The Mists of Avalon" - a good priestess HAS to have her cycle in tune with the moon's. /end sarcasm
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Muddy Fox » 18 Jan 2012, 08:53

Bloody hell, I've just realised which forum department I've wandered into again. Sorry Lily I cannot give you any facts and figures on this as I have not researched it in depth, I just thought I would comment. I am merely passing forward personal experiences and tales as passed to me by a trusted source, my mother. As for Priestesses and Avalon, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about as I have never looked into this aspect of Paganism. It's not my background I'm afraid.

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Aemilius » 18 Jan 2012, 09:26

Hi Muddy Fox....

Muddy Fox "I think the gravitational pull on the water content of the body is more likely than the light effects. I've just googled water content in the human body and found these figures. The average human body is 60% water, the brain is 70% water, the lungs 90% water an the blood 83% water."

I see your line of reasoning, but the Moon's mass and gravitational pull remain (relatively) constant over time regardless of its phase, so if gravity was at the root of your emotional response, I'm afraid you would find yourself feeling a bit anxious and tearful each time it passed overhead.

The Moons negligible gravitational effect on the human body turns out to be more a matter of scale than percentage. The moons and the suns gravitational force (considered weak by Physicists) acts over a vast surface area of the ocean in producing the tides, and Physicists have compared the gravitational force exerted by the moon on a mass comparable to that of a human being on the surface of the Earth when it (the Moon) is directly over head as being comparable to the gravitational force exerted by a pea placed on top of the head, which doesn't sound terribly impactful, but who knows? I think though that if the human body was really that sensitive to subtle variations in the force of gravity over time, even a passing car might be expected to trigger an emotional outburst!

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Lily » 18 Jan 2012, 09:40

Bloody hell, I've just realised which forum department I've wandered into again. Sorry Lily I cannot give you any facts and figures on this as I have not researched it in depth, I just thought I would comment. I am merely passing forward personal experiences and tales as passed to me by a trusted source, my mother.
that's ok I just wanted to make sure participants in this discussion know several of these possible effects have been looked into, statistically, and no evidence's been found. Many people think these phenomena are frequent but they usually dissolve on statistical analysis.
As for Priestesses and Avalon, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about as I have never looked into this aspect of Paganism. It's not my background I'm afraid.
I'm speaking of a general idea floating around, and I gave my source, that's all.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Muddy Fox

Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Muddy Fox » 18 Jan 2012, 09:42

Ok, I have had a cursory glance at Lily's scientific links on this thread and IMO neither are 100% conclusive, with apparent flaws in the research methods of each. I could go off and look for other research to back up my personal experience or do some of my own. I could look at it from other angles ie psychic/spiritual maybe or even bring astrology into it. Because it works on exactly the same principles, ie, various planets having an influence in some way which effect the human being and aspects of their lives.
But I am not playing, you can all run with it. That is my final word, I am delicate and cannot undergo another group bashing in Skeptics corner. Good luck, I will read with interest!

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Lily » 18 Jan 2012, 10:06

But you did read the part where it said those studies that DID find an effect were usually flawed (confounded by excess full moons on weekends in one instance....)?

not expecting a reply - just wanted to point that out...

I'm not a mean person, you know, I don't own this place, just have time to join this topic that's all and I am terribly sorry to "poke" at your perception of these phenomena, I simply don't have tem as part of my world-view.


... as always with scientific or nonscientific phenomena.... before racking one's brain for explanations it is usually easier to first see if there is an effect at all....
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Aemilius » 18 Jan 2012, 10:08

Hello again lovely Lily....

Lily "Before you take off with this discussion, can you take into account that for medical emergencies, crime etc, the link hasn't been proven?"

I think if you review my original post you'll see that it says "noticed" not "proven". I also made clear it is only a theory, I have lots of theories.

So, I won't say there is proof, but on the other hand the results of some of these studies seem skewed from the outset. In other words, they test the responses of various seemingly random groups of people, but they don't seem to focus on assembling groups of people composed of those most obviously affected as test subjects, which might yield valuable data that would begin to help focus attention on those areas of the brain experiencing marked physiological effects caused by exposure of the eye to certain wavelenths of light.

There is a reputable study (I will try to dig it up) that shows the Full Moon actually does have a consistent and predictable observable effect on a substantial percentage of those afflicted with shizophrenia, which was the original impetus in this line of thinking about the light of the Full Moon, together with the now well known fact that epilectic seizures can be induced by lights strobing at a particular frequency in those so afflicted. This all seems plausible to me (theoretically) since the eye is actually an extension of the brain itself that is directly exposed to the environment, and can produce various physiological responses depending on the applied stimuli. Even if the data on schizophrenics is excluded, the veracity of the reported effects on epiletics is irrefutable.

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby treegod » 18 Jan 2012, 10:13

The light thing makes sense. I don't know about how differences in spectrum affect us, but I know that at a full moon, if I haven't shut my curtains properly, I don't get a good night's sleep. It's sort of nature's "neon".

I'm imagining that if any effect is had it's something to do with this. Maybe all those "lunatics" are just antsy after a bad night's sleep?

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Lily » 18 Jan 2012, 10:19

now it gets interesting....


so you say there are moon-sensitive people and only those should be put in a study?
fine. define a way to separate them out.
However: if an effect is only truly visible in a sub-group, why then does casually observing the entire population (e.g. as a nurse in an emergency ward under non-controlled conditions) SEEM to show an effect? Wouldn't the non-sensitive people mask that out?
but ok, promising approach, because You see, in general I think an effect "seen" casually diminishes on statistical analysis, so if all that effect only comes from a subgroup the difference would be HUGE.

to be honest with you? I don't think this research has been done and we certainly cannot come to a conclusion in this druid forum. but please prove me wrong.

I'm still skeptical that the shifted spectrum of moonlight vs. sunlight is in any way as powerful in terms of effect as strobing light when it comes to epileptics.... wouldn't e.g. artificial lighting interfere with that? considering that we probably get hours more exposure to indoor light per day than to the light of the full moon. imagine neon tubes, don't they flicker at 60 Hz?
Also light pollution by outdoor lighting comes into play as well... another different spectrum (think those orange street lamps)....


please dig up that article on Schizophrenia, I'd be very interested.
also if you have something on epileptics, please pass it along.

I'm imagining that if any effect is had it's something to do with this. Maybe all those "lunatics" are just antsy after a bad night's sleep
but treegod, that's just the thing. they're not. at least statistically they are not more frequently loony than at other phases of the moon. ok the schizophrenics. I think I just dug out an appropriate article, watch for my next post.

I give you that you sleep worse with a full moon in your face - but how frequently ? only when the sky is clear enough? only now and then and by confirmation bias you only remember those particular nights?

have the studies been re- done accounting only for those nights the moon is actually visible? or did they start from the premise of a gravitational pull, and did not take weather into account?
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Lily » 18 Jan 2012, 10:52

I find this article....
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10820695.
it looked at weeklong spans of the lunar cycle in 56 patients and found effects in some parameters. I can't read the paper, costs money to get it.

here's another wrapup, free to read:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... ool=pubmed

and another

http://www.gjpsy.uni-goettingen.de/gjp- ... -owens.pdf
this one descibes what the study on top did: over a 30 month period, they had 4 interviews with their subjects.
I would have liked to see something more detailed, such as having them keep a diary. and wasn't the general Idea It's On The Night Of The Full Moon? now it's one-quarter of the lunar cycle!
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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Aemilius » 18 Jan 2012, 11:52

Lily "now it gets interesting...."

Well! Aren't you the little firecracker! I think I get Muddy Fox's frantic retreat from this thread in response to your post now.

Lily "so you say there are moon-sensitive people and only those should be put in a study?"

No, I'm not saying anything conclusively or making any claim. What I am doing, Lily, is called ENTERTAINING A THEORY. I am saying that it would make sense to assemble a group of people who for whatever reason appear to be more affected than others by a particular stimulus for the purpose of research. If one is looking into the effects of strobing lights on epileptics for instance, it wouldn't make much sense to assemble a group of diabetics for the purpose now would it?

Lily "fine. define a way to separate them out."

Are you actually reading these posts? Is there some difficulty I'm unaware of in assuming that it would be easy to separate out schizophrenics from the general population? Aren't there already psych wards full of them just waiting to be observed?

Lily "I'm still skeptical that the shifted spectrum of moonlight vs. sunlight is in any way as powerful in terms of effect as strobing light when it comes to epileptics...."

What precisely is that skepticism based on? Intuition? Are you suggesting there is a threshold of light intensity below which there is simply no effect, and if so, what is the threshold intensity (in lumens please)?

Lily "wouldn't e.g. artificial lighting interfere with that?"

The answer to that is no. Light waves of different frequencies can occupy the same space without canceling each other out.

Lily "considering that we probably get hours more exposure to indoor light per day than to the light of the full moon. imagine neon tubes, don't they flicker at 60 Hz?"

You have to ask? No offense Lily, but if a high school dropout is here having to explain to you the fundamentals of physics I don't know how you expect to make any kind of meaningful contribution to this topic.

Lily "Also light pollution by outdoor lighting comes into play as well... another different spectrum (think those orange street lamps)...."

Again, the answer to that is no, light waves of different frequencies can occupy the same space without canceling each other out.

Lily "please dig up that article on Schizophrenia, I'd be very interested.
also if you have something on epileptics, please pass it along."


Yes, of course, I will try to find the study on schizophrenia, as far as the epileptic response to strobing lights goes, that's common knowledge, Google it yourself.... Emile
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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Lily » 18 Jan 2012, 12:23

Lily "now it gets interesting...."
Well! Aren't you the little firecracker! I think I get Muddy Fox's frantic retreat from this thread in response to your post now.
Let's not get personal. I was really trying to be neutral, aiming at nobody, it's not my fault if someone does not want to have their world view challenged.
Lily "so you say there are moon-sensitive people and only those should be put in a study?"
No, I'm not saying anything conclusively or making any claim. What I am doing, Lily, is called ENTERTAINING A THEORY
ok - I used colloquial wording, excuse me.
I am saying that it would make sense to assemble a group of people who for whatever reason appear to be more affected than others by a particular stimulus for the purpose of research. If one is looking into the effects of strobing lights on epileptics for instance, it wouldn't make much sense to assemble a group of diabetics for the purpose now would it?
absolutely correct. so basically we have the schizophrenia and the epilepsy left for the future discussion?
Lily "fine. define a way to separate them out."
Are you actually reading these posts? Is there some difficulty I'm unaware of in assuming that it would be easy to separate out schizophrenics from the general population? Aren't there already psych wards full of them just waiting to be observed?
yes, I was somehow reading into your writing that you assumed that certain people regardless of pathology have an underlying sensitivity, just like people think there are electrosensitives. I guess you are not supposing this.
leaves us with two populations: inpatient schizophrenia and light-induced epileptic seizures.
Lily "I'm still skeptical that the shifted spectrum of moonlight vs. sunlight is in any way as powerful in terms of effect as strobing light when it comes to epileptics...."
What precisely is that skepticism based on? Intuition?
Intuition regarding what I know about epileptic seizures, which is not much except certain types can be triggered by strobing stimuli.
Are you suggesting there is a threshold of light intensity below which there is simply no effect, and if so, what is the threshold intensity (in lumens please)?
there could be, I don't know, I would assume not lumens(intensity) but Hertz(flash frequency) but I have no idea. It's happened with people driving along streets lined with regularly spaced trees, and with Pokemon on TV, correct?
Lily "wouldn't e.g. artificial lighting interfere with that?"
The answer to that is no. Light waves of different frequencies can occupy the same space without canceling each other out.
but if one light source/wavelength is more bright, it will dominate. that's what I mean.
Also, and this is just a hypothesis, if it isn't a strobing light, which moonlight clearly isn't - it could be a dose effect, i.e. you have to have n minutes/hours of exposure to get to the effect.
Lily "considering that we probably get hours more exposure to indoor light per day than to the light of the full moon. imagine neon tubes, don't they flicker at 60 Hz?"
You have to ask? No offense Lily, but if a high school dropout is here having to explain to you the fundamentals of physics I don't know how you expect to make any kind of meaningful contribution to this topic.
Please stop being personal. I won't comment on your academics, you won't on my failure to actually look it up and thus putting it as a conversational question.
Lily "Also light pollution by outdoor lighting comes into play as well... another different spectrum (think those orange street lamps)...."
Again, light waves propagated at different frequencies can occupy the same space without canceling each other out.
again, not cancel, but dominate. if you stand under a classic sodium-vapor street lamp, even on a full moon, it's still orange around you. the predominant wavelength. in terms of photons hitting you, you will have the majority from the street lamp.
100000 Lux – Sunny day
10000-100000 Lux – Sunny day with some clouds
100-10000 Lux – Overcast sky
100-1000 Lux – Home/Office lighting
1-10 Lux – Street lighting
0.1 Lux – Full moon
0.01 Lux - Young moon
0.001 Lux – Clear night without moon
0.0001 Lux – Dark cloudy night
http://www.footprintsecurity.com.au/inf ... basics.php
Lily "please dig up that article on Schizophrenia, I'd be very interested.
also if you have something on epileptics, please pass it along."
Yes, of course, I will try to find the study on schizophrenia, as far as the epileptic response to strobing lights goes, that's common knowledge, Google it yourself....
oh please don't tell me to do homework.I have consistently given sources in this discussion and I had a genuine look for the literature on schizophrenia. edit, I see that one wasn't personal. but I know that about the epilepsy, no need to gogle.

I would like you to come up with a source, not for the fact that epilepsy can be triggered by strobe light but by moonlight or that epileptic seizures are more frequent on a full moon, please. Or any evidence that supports the hypothesis you are making.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Karl » 18 Jan 2012, 12:57

This occured to me;

People tend to follw patterns, statistically New Years day is a spike in suicide rates. More people get inebriated on a weekend. A predominance of sleep happens at night time. We follow the patterns based on the world around us for various reasons, and if you're going to go out at night randomly (be it for worship, attempted murder, walking the dog, sneaking round to see what the neighbours are up to) given the choice of one night to the next a full moon is as good as any BUT it is a 'node-point', a mark of change, a reference you can bear your timeframe on.

It would be interesting to compare data on how we sync up to cyclical events, I mean you plan to arrive at you destination ON THE HOUR, you make your resolutions for the NEW YEAR, payday is the END OF THE MONTH, etc, etc. How many people plan to do something at 11:57am? 12:00 noon makes much more sense. There's no reason why the extra three minutes delay would help. It must be something to do with our brains. Probably sloshing about with all that water!

Also, importantly, you will get more reflected light on a full moon so you can see what your doing better.
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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Explorer » 18 Jan 2012, 13:36

You have to ask? No offense Lily, but if a high school dropout is here having to explain to you the fundamentals of physics I don't know how you expect to make any kind of meaningful contribution to this topic.
wowwwwww
Aemilius, I realise that you don't know all the faces around here yet, but Lily is one of our very few genuine scientists here. If anybody here is able to make meaningful contributions about science it is her. Don't insult her like that please. Not because this is such a gentle corner of DHP, but because you are dead wrong about her.

For the rest, I love this subject, and I really like the way you come up with skeptical subjects. Welcome!

On-topic.
I vaguely remember an earlier topic about the full moon, and I believe that we then already debunked the myths that Muddy Fox was spreading about menstruation and people in hospitals and such. I trust Lily on that and won't go into that subject.

I find your original question more interesting, what causes it?
I'm pretty sure that certain people are affected by the full moon to some extend, but I think the explanation can be simpler than your light spectrum theory.
Just becoming aware of this big ball of light hanging in the night sky must have some psychological effect, which may even trigger some sort of physiological (hormonal?) effect?

I would think that suggestion does a lot also.
It would be interesting to test two groups of women, one group who has read 'Mists of Avalon', and one group who never heard of a relationship between the moon and menstruation. And then test if their cycles differ, but also if they 'sense' the effect of the Moon.
My guess would be that their cycles wouldn't differ significantly, but that those who read about 'sensing the moon' will 'sense' the moon.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Aemilius » 18 Jan 2012, 13:46

Apologies if I offended you Lily, nothing personal intended.... I started this thread asking questions, informally exploring a little pet theory, nothing serious. You don't agree, and thats fine, but I don't like it being made to appear that I'm making claims when I'm not, or people demanding supporting evidence for a little pet theory I made clear from the start was just that, a theory. Now I see your asking for suporting evidence of moonlight causing epileptic seizures, which is patently absurd as I never indicated anything like that. Nothing personal....

.... but in order for this not to get out of control, I'm going to ignore both you and your posts for the time being. Emile
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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Aemilius » 18 Jan 2012, 13:57

Hello Explorer....

It wasn't my intention to insult anyone, but from the start what I said has been consistently misinterpreted and misunderstood to the point where no productive exchange seemed likely to ensue. Now there is no problem. Appreciate your input.... Emile
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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Lily » 18 Jan 2012, 14:11

Well I expressed my due exception to your becoming personal, that's done with, I'm ok.
Apology accepted.

What is your theory then, again?
correct me if I am wrong… as I understand it (from your original posting)

- The light of the moon has some effect on human physiology, particularly those mentally susceptible.
- Could be beyond the visible spectrum.
- a couple paragraphs earlier you hypothesise at one point that it may be the optic nerve which would be the conduit of whatever effect moonlight has.

We then whittled it down – the only thing that we could identify in casually accessible literature was a possible effect on schizophrenic outpatients in terms of some aspects of pathology and quality of life, in one published study.

with regards to the conduit of the signal, the optic nerve does not react to anything OTHER than the visible spectrum to my knowledge, so either we react via another sensory organ which has not yet been discovered - or we’re back at visible light.

Would you like to keep discussing this?


At one point the idea of epilepsy came along. Ah right, you stated, “Even if the data on schizophrenics is excluded, the veracity of the reported effects on epiletics is irrefutable.”
I understood this as “light of the full moon has an effect on epileptics”. And the discussion went on from there. You latched onto this particular argument so I thought that was part of your theory.
If that wasn’t your theory, this branch of discussion is over.
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Re: The Full Moon....

Postby Explorer » 18 Jan 2012, 14:56

Allow me to respond to a technicality...

I work at an observatory where we work with radio telecopes. (radio signals are also electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light, just of another frequency). The problem that we have is is more or less the same of what Emilius describes, except the reverse.

In radio astronomy we have a broad spectrum of wavelenghts coming at us, broad like the sunlight of moonlight.
But in our case this broad spectrum is the artificial 'light' that we try to ignore, we are only interested in a few particular frequencies. Like 1.4 Ghz of hydrogen. And we are able to detect those with our telescopes, despite the huge load of artificial light. (1.4 Ghz was not used by anybody, until we ran into a huge load of interference, and discovered that it was our own newyly bought computers... Pentium 1.4Ghz :thinking: ).

In the case of Moonlight reaching the city dweller it is the reverse problem. The artifiical light is of only a few limited frequencies, like the sodium streetlamps only emit light at the frequency of sodium. So, all the frequencies that are in the moonlight, but not in our artificial light, do indeed reach us. Just as strongly as if we were out in the countryside.

But, and I think this is the flaw in the logic... we are not telescopes that are able to distinguish one frequency from the other.
Even when all those different wavelenghts of light reach us, and even enter our eyes, it will be the strongest visible light wavelenghts that will trigger our optical nerves and the asociated parts of the brain. So even when all of the moonlight will hit us at full force, we won't be able to notice it when there are brighter lights.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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